The hill-girt town of “Magna Dean” stands in for the author’s boyhood home in the beautiful Forest of Dean, England, in the “good years” before electricity and other modern miracles. These tales of the antics of the Magna Dean children and of adult life seen through the eyes of the young people take us back to a magical world, related in detail, including a taste of the dialect of the Forest.
The author, born in the 1920s, looks back at his early boyhood. The story wth its imaginary characters is set during the Depression in the fictional village of Magna Dean, on the outskirts of the Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England.
Boscoe, Bruce and Curley are pirates of “The Brotherhood of the Black Spot”, whose aim is to be “pillagers of the worst sort”, at the same time helping the poor. They become fast friends in the first year at the village school, where Boscoe had been sent a year early to keep him out of jail and from the clutches of P.C. Price.
The boys roam the Forest exploring old barns and fighting the “enemy” often getting into trouble. But Boscoe’s solo exploits are already legendary, beginning with his fall from grace in Ada’s privy. But good deeds also surface, as when they take Miss Pearce for her memorable ride.
Belzer, the wise old sexton, has a lifetime of experiences to share in the churchyard with Boscoe. In the Forest dialect Belzer spins his tales of Bill Phelps, ossaries, Longshank Mary, and pealing bells. He is a great friend to our beleagured hero.
Over the years, his boyhood escapades and adventures have stayed fresh in the mind of the author, who now generously shares his (embellished) tales with his readers.
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