Martin Hyde

The Duke's Messenger

Cover image for


Author: John Masefield
Published: 1910
Language: English
Wordcount: 77,166 / 207 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 79.2
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 548 4749

Spirited story of a lad who served the Duke of Monmouth in his attempt to usurp the throne of James II.

Show Excerpt

dnapping" or "trepanning" them, as it was called) to sell to merchant-captains bound for the plantations. "So be very careful, Martin," he said. "Do not talk to strangers." He went for his morning walk after this, telling me that I might run out to play in the garden.

I went out of doors feeling that London must be a very terrible place, if the folk there went about counting all who met them as possible enemies. I was homesick for the Broads, where everybody, even bad men, like the worst of the smugglers, was friendly to me. I hated all this noisy city, so full of dirty jumbled houses. I longed to be in my coracle on the Waveney, paddling along among the reeds, chucking pebbles at the water-rats. But when I went out into the garden I found that even London held something for me, not so good as the Broads, perhaps, but pleasant in its way.

Now before I go further, I must tell you that my uncle's house was one of the old houses in Billingsgate. It stood in a narrow, crowded lane, at the western end of Tha


Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****

A young boy’s tale of adventure

The Author

John Masefield was the British Poet Laureate from 1930 to 1967. He wrote two classic children’s novels, The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights.

The Story

Martin Hyde loses his father and moves to London to live with his Uncle. He likes to sneak out at night to seek adventure. Unhappily, while pursuing his pleasure, he gets kidnapped and is then caught up in a civil war between the Duke of Manmouth and his half brother the King.

The Duke is strikingly handsome, charming and Protestant. The people adore the Duke and joyously await the opportunity to fight for his cause. He also benefits by having the young Mr. Hyde on his side.

The King is not particularly handsome, is certainly not charming, is an absolute monarch, is definitely Catholic and as a consequence is not very much liked by the Protestants, of which there are plenty. However he compensates by being cunning and resolute; he also owns the treasury and pays the army.

So who triumphs? --the wealthy unpopular King and his army or the handsome Duke and his rebellious peasants; and what role does our scrappy hero, Mr. Hyde play?

Well, you can read about it in a history book. (Although, good luck with the young Mr. Hyde question and I guess you will continue to know nothing about the charming and mysterious Miss Aurelia as well.) Or, you could read this book.

This book is well written, fast paced and a great deal more fun. However, the choice remains yours, but chose wisely, for Mr. Hyde and Miss Aurelia wait within.

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