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The Adventures of Charlie Smithers [Kindle Edition]C W Lovatt (Author)
Publication Date: November 8, 2012
Harry Flashman, step aside, old son. Make way for Charlie Smithers.
The time is the nineteenth century. The place, the Serengeti Plain, where one Charlie Smithers – faithful manservant to the arrogant bone-head, Lord Brampton (with five lines in Debrett, and a hopeless shot to boot) – becomes separated from his master during an unfortunate episode with an angry rhinoceros, thereby launching Charlie on an odyssey into Deepest Darkest Africa, and subsequently into the arms of the beautiful Loiyan…and that’s where the trouble really begins.
Maasai warriors, xenophobic locals, or evil Arab slavers, the two forbidden lovers encounter everything that the unforgiving jungle can throw at them.
"A truly engaging read that will keep anyone’s attention from the hilarious beginning until the last word. I highly recommend this 5 star novel." ~ Chapters & Chats
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“THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE SMITHERS Debut novelist C W Lovatt hits the ground running with his historical fiction novel "The Adventures of Charlie Smithers". ”Jodi Hanson | 2 reviewers made a similar statement
“This book will make you laugh, make you swoon, and make you cry. ”DebG | 1 reviewer made a similar statement
“Mr. Lovatt has a talent for succinct, yet effective description, which makes the impression all the more lasting for its brevity. ”Elizabeth | 2 reviewers made a similar statement
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully engaging read! November 10, 2012
By Jodi Hanson
THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE SMITHERS
Debut novelist C W Lovatt hits the ground running with his historical fiction novel "The Adventures of Charlie Smithers". I found myself wildly entertained by the poetic prose and often humorous undertones you wouldn't expect from a first foray into the world of publishing.
Manservant to Lord John Houghton and reluctant world traveler, Charlie Smithers finds himself stranded in the Serengeti after a narrow escape from a charging rhinoceros, and headlong into a battle with dangerous predators hell bent on a meal of fresh meat. Saved by Maasai hunters Charlie finds himself in the midst of danger once again and falling for the beautiful Loiyan, the woman who nursed him back to health.
Charlie's journey takes him and his new love through numerous battles, nefarious slave traders and welcoming villagers on a course that will change his view of the world and questioning his priorities as he pushes to find his way back to England.
Mr. Lovatt's descriptive writing has the Serengeti coming to life before your eyes. He has done his homework on the people, places and geography of Africa that become the background for a touching love story wrapped up in an adventure. His protagonist is a loveable and loyal Englishman who could have ended up being written as a cookie cutter adventurer in the style of Robinson Crusoe but carries a life of his own that can only be described as refreshing.
The bottom line is "The Adventures of Charlie Smithers" is truly engaging read that will keep one's attention from the hilarious beginning until the last word. I highly recommend this 5 star novel.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me as a galley by the author for an honest and unbiased review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly rewarding reading experience! February 22, 2013
I have just finished reading TACS for the second time. The first time I read it, I became so caught up in the story & involved with the characters that I found myself racing through it to find out what happened to them; so I needed to read it again – at a more leisurely pace – to appreciate how well-written the book is.
CWL is a talented writer. He is a terrific storyteller, with a plot that keeps the reader involved from beginning to end with its suspense & many surprises along the way. At the same time, he has a natural narrative style that makes reading a pleasure. He is a very visual writer, evoking the vivid images & atmosphere of the land of the Maasai: for example, he describes the great flocks of birds as ‘vast artificial clouds’, their song an ‘avian exaltation,’ & ‘somewhere in the night, a hyena cackled at something wildly amusing.’ He has a knack for appropriate similes – the kind that make you smile in the middle of a line: for instance, he says of a boat full of armed slavers: ‘their muskets bristling like a hedgehog,’ & a knack for summing up intense situations with a single statement: ‘We were alone now, a lost tribe of one man and one woman;’ Charlie’s old worries ‘all seemed distant and unimportant, as though they were events that might have happened to someone else - some minor character in a bad play;’ & again, after a tragic event, ‘I sight down the barrel. The blue steel glows dully in a sun I had thought gone from the sky.’
He also has a gift for dialogue, which really makes his characters come alive. There is an episode, in which Charlie & Loiyan are caught in a torrential rainstorm in an open canoe, which they are forced to bail out frantically throughout the night. The conclusion of this episode – where Charlie comes to terms with having survived – is made hilarious by the skillful play of dialogue between the two characters.
I especially appreciated the recurring themes in the book: the idea of ‘Britishness’, in particular what it meant to a gentleman’s gentleman in the mid 19th century at the height of Victoria’s empire. At one point, Charlie notes: ‘But then, he wasn’t British, so he had no way of knowing what was or wasn’t done.’ The second recurring undercurrent is lasting impact of one of that empire’s wars on one of the common men who found himself fighting it.
TACS is a book that is difficult to classify with just one label; while it is historical fiction, (& like all successful historical fiction, the author gets the historical details right, as two of the previous reviewers have mentioned,) as well as being an adventure story, it is also a compelling love story; it is a social commentary as well as a social satire; it is both broadly humorous and deeply tragic.
Like a previous reviewer, I too would like to read more of the adventures of Charlie Smithers. He is thoroughly pleasant company!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When is the next one? February 25, 2013
If you are looking for a scathing review of a writer's debut novel, this is not it. Historic fiction is not my go-to genre; having said that, I found this story engaging and delightful.
I hate when authors take six sentences to describe a scene and set the mood, which leaves me skipping paragraphs to get to the point. None of that in this novel! Mr. Lovatt has a talent for succinct, yet effective description, which makes the impression all the more lasting for its brevity.
It was an easy, well-flowing read - at times humorous, at times poignant and tragic, but always true to the story that needed to be told. This book was an excellent read, chock full of interesting characters, an unusual storyline, and a lead character worth cheering for. I will be watching for further efforts of Mr. Lovatt.
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