Neville’s Quest

Written by Ken Holdsworth
Review by Ann Northfield

The action takes place in 1754. Thomas Neville is in search of his lost love Emily, and to find her, he travels across the sea to America, fighting off pirates and having other adventures along the way. The tale goes along merrily enough, but there are many references to earlier happenings and events, presumably in a previous novel. The trouble is that these earlier events seem considerably more interesting, and so the reader feels a distinct inclination to be reading this book, which deals with an evil Satanist, among other things, instead. My particular pet hate of “your” written as “you’re” downgraded the book further for me. There are some exciting scenes with highwaymen and grave-robbers, and the characters are clearly described, but somehow the novel never coalesces into a tense and compelling whole. The love story is complicated by the issue of colour because Emily is part black, but this issue is not as fully explored as it could be. Her past as a slave is referred to sometimes but is presumably dealt with more fully in the previous book. Overall, a reasonable beach read. The fact that it seems to have been designed to raise money for eye disease charities hopefully encourages potential readers more.