Malcolm Bosse has captured and character of London in the 1770s in this exuberant tale that intertwines the lives of Henry Fielding, the Earl of Sandwich, and John Wilkes, among others, with the fate of a livery boy who has come to the city to make his fortune. When Ned is wrongly accused of stealing from Lord Sandwich's larder, his dismissal into the mean streets of London quickly teaches the boy a lesson in survival: putting to use his skills as a shepherd, he trains a stray dog and emerges as the much feared Dog Cull, a renowned criminal who has not forgotten the man who wronged him. When the Earl of Sandwich is threatened by a scandal involving one of the many girls procured for him, Ned finds himself a part of an intricate scheme that will ultimately bring him revenge - or the noose.
From the scheming Doctor Bostock and his doltish flunky Lemuel, scoundrels who introduce Ned to the life of crime; to Robert Scarrat, the nefarious procurer of girls for the ritual Black Masses attended by noblemen costumed as monks; to the notorious Jenny Rivers, Queen of Foists, who presides over London's criminal underground; to Judge Fielding himself, whose book Joseph Andrews finds its way into Ned's eager hands and whose mission it is to pull justice from chaos - this captivating drama is peopled with colorful figures and events.
Adventure, misadventure, twists of fate, and, at the novel's center, the love affair between Ned and Clare, the kept woman of a local shopkeeper, combine to entertain, delight, and endlessly surprise. In The Vast Memory of Love, Malcolm Bosse has succeeded in writing an eighteenth-century novel in the 1990s, matching his previous achievements and displaying his virtuosity and range.
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Although, amazingly, he has not enjoyed a bestseller since The Warlord (1984), Bosse remains one of the most intriguingly versatile and skillful storytellers around. After the sweeping futuristic vision of Mister Touch , he has retreated to 18th-century London for his latest novel. Apart from an unimaginative title, the book is a triumph of inventive, ultra-vivid reconstruction. The sights and sounds of a city that spawned both filth and fashion, both the basest criminality and the loftiest moral purpose, have surely never been more dashingly evoked, and by way of a pell-mell narrative Bosse has convincingly woven fiction out of some very actual lives. Central to that narrative are two such historical figures: the Earl of Sandwich--cynical, snobbish, petty and sexually obsessed with impoverished young women; and Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones and many other splendid novels, shown here in his role as a stern but large-hearted magistrate who helped create the London police force from his Bow Street Runners. The plot is driven by Sandwich's membership in a group of fatuous noblemen who combine blasphemy and whoring at a made-over abbey (based on the very real Hellfire Club), and his procuring of female victims through a dastardly assistant. The leading actors in it include Bet Canning, a ruined but devious maiden; Ned, an upstanding country lad (not unlike Tom Jones) who turns to a life of crime; Ned's Sandwich's, or Ned's? change 'his' to 'Ned's' if latter/note change. db lovely mistress, Clare; and, of course, Fielding. Bosse renders the Fielding character through a first-person pastiche of the great novelist's own style which is at once brilliantly comic and sentimentally touching. Few contemporary writers 'authors writing' is redundant can produce the narrative drive of Bosse's best workbooks, not author himself, have narrative drive , and the twists and turns of his story here--always in perfect period character, yet delivered in swift, smooth modern prose--are likely to keep contemporary readers as enthralled by this book as Fielding's readers were by his novels 250 years ago. It is difficult to see how this book could fail to reach a large audience; even people who do not normally take to historical fiction will relish it. (Sept.) .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In a departure from the Asian and apocalyptic milieus of The Warlord (1983) and Mister Touch (1991), Bosse here re-creates Henry Fielding's London--and the gout-ridden father of the novel himself- -in a slightly convoluted but touching romantic saga. Young shepherd Ned Carleton arrives in the city to seek his fortune, finding a position with the imperious Lord Sandwich that he promptly loses when falsely accused of theft. Adding injury to insult, Ned burns a hand badly in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue a woman from a fire, and is thereby rendered unfit for any work save the illegal kind, which 18th-century London offers in abundance. He finds his niche in the fashionable West End as the fearsome Dog Cull, a sobriquet derived from his companion, a talented sheepdog turned herder of men ripe for the plucking. He also finds sweet love, however, with a prostitute who returns his affections as innocently as he offers them, and so he decides to blackmail the mighty Sandwich in order to gain the wherewithal for a fresh start for himself and Clare. Having deduced that his lordship is linked to a young woman who claimed she was abducted by a gypsy, Ned also connects the two to a former monastery that serves as the bawdy house for a group of blasphemous noblemen, who celebrate satanic rites using the living altar of a naked woman. Before he can profit from his knowledge, however, Ned is captured and sentenced to hang for murder--and only the timely arrival of Fielding, who has taken an interest in the case and who soon becomes smitten by Clare, can save him.... A masterful blend of history and fiction, marred only by the portrayal of Fielding, who appears aloof in his own narration of events. Even so, a vivid, engaging yarn. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Ticknor & Fields, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0395629438
Book Description Ticknor & Fields, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition.... NY: Ticknor Fields, 1992. First Edition. First printing. Harbound. New, in dust jacket. A perfect unread copy. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # 3521
Book Description Ticknor & Fields, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0395629438
Book Description Ticknor & Fields, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110395629438
Book Description Ticknor & Fields, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 9.50x6.50x1.75 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0395629438