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S.M.C. is the English Dominican author of Brother Petroc's Return and other fairly well-known novels. The present work is a short historical novel built around the little known ""Prayer-Book Rebellion"" led by the spirited commoners of Cornwall in 1549 when the English Crown forbade them the Mass and ordered the Prayer Book substituted for the Missal. This is not a great novel, but it would not be correct to call it mediocre either. It is generally well written, although at times the dialogue gives the impression that the characters have the reader in mind, so explicit are they about matters only the reader has to know. There is a good deal of local color in the novel, and the author has captured the true spirit of the people and the times about which she writes. The main character is a pathetic youngster starved for the affection and recognition his mother, a local ""healer"", denies him. In his fear, including his fear of God and the Virgin Mary, he runs away when it becomes clear that an uprising is in progress. In the end, he has the chance to show himself a true son of Cornwall. His religious and moral transformation is brought about through his sense of being accepted by some of the important leaders of the rebellion. The experiences of the boy and the development of the theme of the intimate connection between natural and religious sentiment are the best elements in the story. Imprimatur.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1959
Publisher: Kenedy