A historical book concerned with one of the wars between the French and the British in 1377. Written for the 13 to 15 age group, in a style that attempts to preserve the rhythms of Old English, a complicated plot emerges, supported by a host of characters. The British town of Rye is attacked by the Normans, and after much bloodshed and pillaging, the church bells are stolen. The people of Rye vow revenge. Young John Finch is especially intent upon retrieving the bells, since his father, the Admiral, was killed, and John wishes now to assume a more manly role. He befriends Mark Cundy, a fiery spirited young cripple. After much intrigue, the Rye fleet attacks St. Peter's Port where John and Mark recover the bells. The mob of attackers are thirsty for revenge and they refuse to heed Mark's prophecy. After Mark is killed, John realizes that ""an eye for an eye leads to blindness"". A confusingly intricate plot, a labyrinth of verbiage and an overdose of crises give The Bells of Rye a dull ring.