by Peter Ransley (Harper) ISBN 978-0-00-731236-8
“As they lifted her skirt, they saw the baby hanging half out. They called for the cart to take it away.’
The plague babies died a slow death in lime which ate their bodies away. But Mathew Neave, the plague cart driver realised that this baby didn’t have the plague and was still alive. He hid him in his jacket and decided to raise him as his own.
All through Tom’s life he is aware of people trying to kill him and he knows the reason is something to do with his birth.
He spends his life searching for his father only to find he is related to nobility, in fact he is the grandson of a nobly born man. He is always on a quest to find some objects that will give him his birth right. In the meantime the story tells of a bitter sweet romance that Tom has with Anne. From a low printer he becomes one of the highest in the land.
Should he inherit the title, he may not marry his love, who is uneducated. London was grim in those days and people stank from lack of water and from sleeping and living in their dirty clothes. So well was this described that I almost sniffed the pages of the book.
This is a meaty book that takes time to read but it is worth it.