Wednesday, August 17, 2016



It is London 1665, a year fraught with strange and unearthly events. Comets fly low in the sky while merchants clamor for war.

Eleven year old Erasmus T. Muddiman attends St Paul’s School with his younger brother. He enjoys Latin but hates to create Latin verses, preferring the new sciences as seen at the Royal Society. He plays football with the lads in Paul’s Yard, shimmies up the drainpipe outside his bedchamber window and he saves his brother, Desiderius, from all sorts of scrapes.

Soon, Erasmus cannot avoid the rumors of war. Men and boys are press ganged, taken to ships or the dockyards. Plague enters the city. As school fellows disappear, Erasmus and his family meet a terrible fate of survival. Who will live and who will die?


Erasmus is a typical young boy with a mother who chivvies him to eat and a father who tells him to mind his manners, while he is harassed by his irritating younger brother, Desiderus. The boys attend St Paul’s School, Westminster and apart from the daily problems of schoolboys playing games in the street and having to endure teasing by their contemporaries, life is pretty ordinary.

Only this is 1664, and King Charles’ ships are being attacked in the Channel by the Dutch. Thus war is imminent and before he knows it, Erasmus falls into the clutches of the notorious pressgang and is put aboard ship as a virtual slave.

This is an enjoyable and well researched story yet written with an adolescent sense of humour and unique view on life in that we see everything through the eyes of a young boy dragged from his home and subjected to the realities of the 17th Century navy. 

Anita Davison author of ‘Flora Maguire Cosy Mystery Series’

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