Harry Clifton begins his life as the son of a poor widow, having to lick the bowl of his uncle’s oatmeal just to have a taste of breakfast. Thought to be destined to work on the docks, as his uncle does, he avoids school as much as he can. Fortunately, he discovers a mentor in Old Jack, who is thought to be crazy but who is actually very wise and kind. It is Old Jack who actually instructs Harry and prepares him for the entrance exams to the prep school he ultimately becomes eligible for and this opens doors that Harry never knew could exist. As Harry enters this world, he also eventually learns more about his own beginnings, including how his own father actually died and how complicated his beginnings actually were.
While this book was a fun read, it was not at all realistic. Characters were too good or too bad. They had connections that were beyond what might be coincidence. And the plot twists and turns, while suspenseful and amusing, were not ones that were likely to ever have occurred. I guess, though, that’s why they call it fiction?
The most frustrating part of this book, though, is the crazy, cliffhanger ending that is not an ending. I hadn’t expected that I HAD to read the next book – and because of that, I’m not sure I will! So beware -this is more of a commitment than you might think!