REVIEW BY CARLTON ROLLE
Brydie Walker Bain is a playwright, poet, and children's author. She studied History and Theatre & Film at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and furthered her studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Brydie's plays have enjoyed readings in London and sell out audiences in Auckland, Hamilton, and Waitomo.
The story follows the life of Nat Sheppard and her family in New Zealand. At the beginning of the school holiday, Nat and her siblings Jack and Kathleen discover a hidden room in the family house. The room contains a letter and maps with the location of the fabled Sinbad's treasure. In their search, the kids come across others that are professional treasure hunters. These people are willing to do whatever they have to do in order to get money from their loot. With both groups being aware of each other, the rush to get the treasure is on! Nat, Jack, and Kathleen were even more motivated to find the treasure to protect their farm being sold off. It's a very endearing situation for the characters.
I loved the way the book was written. It wasn't too heavy or difficult of a situation to comprehend. Many times, I was hoping that the kids would get everything and more they wanted. It felt like Bain took the time to really craft the imagery of these kids and the landscapes of their adventure. My least favorite aspect of the book was that there was more to the plot that could have been worked out. Then again, that may be the entire purpose of the series is to have the reader continue on to find out what completely happens. One thing that was a little frustrating about reading was some of the names used. I didn't know what they meant, and would be left with context or not knowing at all. It wasn't until I got to the end that I saw there was a short glossary of reference words. I appreciate the cultural reference to the Maori though. It’s insightful and gives greater depth to the entire story behind the treasure.
It’s exhilarating to be a part of a treasure hunt. When it’s woven into family history and future, the kids have no choice but to be drawn by the thrill and hope. This is a good travel adventure book. With so much of it occurring in a cave, it’s cool to see the action happen in a different space. This is great for the youth to be able to read and have really fun imaginative stories. Because of this, I'd be interested in seeing what the next book Brydie Bain writes. If you're looking for your inner youth, while reading, give The Secret of Sinbad's Cave a read.
More can be learned about Brydie Walker Bain at www.facebook.com/brydiewalkerbain
Happy Saturday indies!
All right. So here’s the deal! Following on from the incredibly successful FREE Skype consultations that I have been conducting, the one issue that seems to be keeping you all awake at night is a lack of reviews. SO, with that in mind, I am going to start working with my team to put in place some services around this.
This blog post is a shout out to:
* Be willing to provide regular, honest reviews for other indie authors.
I will be honest and admit that it kind of bugs me that a lot of indie authors cry about the lack of reviews…but are unwilling to help fellow indie authors out by reading and reviewing…You will get out of this what you put into it. However, I am aware that Amazon have strict policies about “Review Swaps” – This service will, therefore, be designed in such a way that:
* You don’t receive a review from an author that you have reviewed a book for
* You don’t review a book and then receive a reciprocal review from that author
You will simply be:
In a regular reviewing pool
Your book will regularly be reviewed by members of that pool
Again, I reiterate, I am only looking for people that are thick-skinned enough to take constructive criticism of their work. If you only want to see 5-star reviews of your work, then this service will not be for you.
Interested in principle? Have additional questions? Contact me.
Thanks in part to rapid industrialisation in the mid-seventeenth century in Tyneside, the Chares of old Newcastle town were full of poverty, disease and serious organised crime. Having recently endured the bubonic plague (1636) which had wiped out nearly one-third of the population. The survivors not only had to put up with abysmal living conditions. (Forty-percent of all households had no proper source of heat) they had also been caught up in the English Civil War, which had resulted in the bloody siege of Newcastle.
The Puritans Move In
During the English Civil War, Newcastle became an important source of wealth for King Charles I, thanks to its highly profitable coal mine. When Charles I made the mistake of forcing the English Prayer Book on all of Scotland. London merchants jumped at the opportunity to take away one of the king's most profitable hubs and the battle for control of the strategic town of Newcastle began. Along with their alternative take on the Bible, the Scottish Covenanters also brought with them a fear of witchcraft that would have cataclysmic consequences for the people of old Newcastle town.
A Fear of Witches Builds
It is important to keep this in the context of the 17th century, rather than 21st century beliefs. The vast majority of the population at that time would already have an ingrained belief in demonology and witchcraft. Witches and demons existed in their world, period, and so it isn’t hard to understand how the Covenanters (sometimes also called Puritans) interpretation of the Bible fanned the flames of suspicion. They cited passages such as "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" from Exodus, and took in a very literal sense. It wasn’t long before the services of witch-finders, or witch-prickers were called upon. A rogue witch-pricker from north of the border saw Newcastle as an easy target to make some money and moved into the area to "root out local witches" in 1649.
The Puritan's of the Corporation welcomed the arrival of the witch-pricker as an opportunity to set the locals against one another and help them vent their frustrations on each other rather than the Puritans themselves. The Magistrate's Bellman was sent around town letting everyone know of the pricker's existence and was responsible for bringing forward any complaints held against possible witches around town. A total of 30 people were brought in front of the pricker for the suspicion of witchcraft.
Forcing the "Witches" to Confess
Witch-prickers or witch-finders were not afraid to use barbaric means to get the “witches” that they captured "witches" to confess to their crimes. They would often deprive the poor souls of sleep and make them walk around for hours until they finally broke, sealing their fate. Possible witches were also subject to humiliation when determining their final verdict. They were often stripped to look for "witch marks" which would then be pricked for blood. If the mark did not bleed, they were a witch and would be tried as such. What people didn't know was that many witch-hunters relied on retractable bodkins to press witch marks to ensure they did not bleed and that the hunter could collect their pay.
Each of the 30 suspects were brought before the pricker and tested for witchcraft. A total of 27 of the 30 accused witches were marked as guilty and set to be hanged. Out of the 27 several were spared thanks to the intervention of select townspeople such as Lieutenant Colonel Hobson.
The Spared Witch
Most of the women tried were described as "old crones", not the most attractive to behold and well past their prime, but the final woman was quite different. She was young, and described by Lieutenant Colonel Hobson as "handsome". Hobson watched on in horror as the witch-pricker pulled up the woman's clothes, exposing her to the onlooking crowd. He supposedly pricked her on the thigh, and the woman admitted that she felt nothing and the Bodkin came away clean with no blood to show. Hobson, sensing that a trick was being used, implored first that the woman not be tried at all, but when that didn't work he asked that she be tested again in a more appropriate manner. The second bodkin prick happened in plain sight and caused the woman to bleed proving her innocence to the group. Even though Hobson intervened and tried helping some of the other accused, 17 women and a single man were all executed by hanging on the Town Moor in August of 1650.
A Time for Persecution
Unfortunately, the idea of persecuting witches by executing and torturing them wasn't only limited to England or the well-known Salem Witch trials of 1692. In 1609-1611 Spanish Inquisitors in the Basque area of Spain, vowed to rid themselves of all witches, and examined over 7,000 possible cases. A group of 31 “witches” suffered a harsh fate in Lograno with many tortured, publicly punished and a few burned at the stake. However, these trials resulted in the end of most supposed witch deaths in Spain, long before they ended in other countries around the world. While most people, today would be incredulous at the notion of “witches” practising their dark arts in the local community. Ignorance and a resistance to alternative treatments and healing as well as major social unrest and uncertainty all fed into the tinder box that made the 17th Century, one of the darkest of all times.
There are many rivalries in sport: England and Australia, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Brazil and Argentina. But arguably the fiercest of all rivalries occurs in the north-east – a rivalry that pits the black and white of Newcastle against the red and white of Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear Derby. The history of this rivalry stretches back many, many years, since the two sides first met in 1883, with many different flashpoints along the way.
Why Such a Rivalry?
As with many rivalries in sport, the rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland stems from events outside of sport. This is because the two areas have been at loggerheads well before football was even invented. The main reason why such a schism was drawn between the two towns? The English Civil War. Royalist Newcastle was seen to have many unfair advantages over the merchants of Sunderland, causing Sunderland to become a major stronghold for Parliamentarians in the north-east. This opposition to each other continued into the Jacobite Rebellions and the rest, as they say, is history…
About this blog
An exploration of the world of Ingrid Hall - book reviews and a little bit of Newcastle history. They do say variety is the spice of life!