NO BEAT OF DRUM by Hester Burton


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Mary Hogan, ""too wild, too proud and too pretty for a parish orphan,"" is the first to be sentenced to exile in Tasmania, her ""crime""--the death of a runaway horse--caused by a prank; then it is Joe Hinton and his older brother Dick who are convicted for taking part in the farm laborers' revolt in Hampshire. However unjust his sentence, however sad he is at parting from his mother and sister. Joe knows that there is ""no honor, no justice, no future"" for his kind in England anyhow, that the circumstances of the early nineteenth century have made him surplus. As she demonstrated so masterfully in Time of Trial. Miss Burton knows how to seize hold of time and place and implications--the scenes of the threshers confronting the conscientious farmer, the narrow-minded minister, are crisp and convincing. Not so the rest of the book; after Joe leaves the confines of the convict ship and is bound to an ignorant, besotted master, the pieces fall all-too-neatly into place. He is rescued by the very man he admired on his first day in Hobart, spies Mary in the midst of a roaring fire which kills--conveniently--the husband she has married for convenience who conveniently leaves her a landholding and a little money in the bank; with this stake the two make a start, but it is the end for the always rebellious Dick--after repeated escapes he is injured and dies in Joe's hut. A dramatic personalization of social conflict becomes a standard reward for good behavior, but Miss Burton writes so well that some kids won't care.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1967
Publisher: World