In-depth Reviews

5-star-4-websiteBrilliant book

I was never big on history when I was at school but now I know that what was missing was the passion of someone that loves teaching it. This team of authors has combined a well known historical event, the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and a boarding school mystery to create an absolutely fantastic book. I was delighted to be reading a story, that in so many ways, reminded me of the Famous Five with a touch of a supernatural element to enhance it even more. This is a brilliant Young Adult and Teen mystery thriller.

The story of the invasion of England was superbly told as it brings to life the different fighting skills and strategies of both Normans and Saxons in huge battles.  Unfortunately, the horrendous wipe outs of whole villages had become common place but it was the individual stories of the soldiers that really sold me especially with one particular good man. It is through him that the story in the future is made.

When Chester Bentley arrives at a remote boarding school that is steeped in its own history going back 1000 years, he gets the funny feeling that something special is going to happen. An adventure that is brought to life with a special word. It is here that no one in the past has been able to solve an age-old riddle but there is great danger in this school of secrets.

There are such great moments in this book, from the battles I loved to the schools super sleuths where at times boys were scared and girls were daring. I had such a heart in my mouth moment regarding an unusual way to get up trees, brilliant but definitely not to be tried at home. This book would make a great read in school. The children would be riveted to it. Loved it and this is only book one in the series. Highly recommended. Susan Hampson, Books from Dusk Till Dawn,  8 April 2017

image002 P.R. on Goodreads, 2017

This book drew me back to the kind of mystery/adventure stories I read as a child and to my own child. Written in the vein of C S Lewis, Marjorie Phillips and in some ways J K Rowling (Harry Potter series) it is one of those tales which can be equally enjoyed by a teenager and an adult. There is a wonderfully old-fashioned feel of ‘good and bad’ about the story. It is also remarkably packed with historical facts, many of which are intriguing.

The story is divided into three sections time-wise, the first part set around the Norman conquest and subsequent events, the main part in the twentieth century – nineteen eighties – and the third which peppers the main part, is set in the nineteen thirties. They blend together extremely well.

The plot centres around a schoolboy and his friends attempting to solve a mystery. In the beginning, though, we are led through the first part of that mystery which takes place in the eleventh century, the final twist being pushed into the third section. Odd, ghostly or supernatural happenings are well described as they enter the plot, and the story never lingers for too long on anything.

The school in which the main section is set is a remarkably old-fashioned private school with which the author is extremely familiar. The majority of the action takes place in Devon, although the area around Hastings and Norman France have been well researched and are beautifully described.

This book is very well-written and I enjoyed it. I must comment though, that as an older adult reading it, the school setting was amusing but much of the school-type adventure would, I feel, be more appealing to a far younger reader. This is simply a personal view, and not exactly a criticism, but I have deducted a star from my rating as I felt the book’s audience was not really me! Would I read it again? I might.

5-star-4-website Absolutely epic – the ultimate adventure page turner!

The Last Treasure of Ancient England is the most exciting historical mystery quest adventure fiction I’ve ever read.

A bit similar to the genre style of Dan Brown mixed with the youngsters with a mystery to solve of Enid Blyton and with a bit of the Hardy Boys thrown in.
I loved the fact that the adventures on a ‘quest of discovery’ were boarding school children, rather than the typical professional academic/ police or federal agent on a trail chase.

Brilliant writing from authors Mark Colenutt & Jacqueline Wood!
Super descriptive narrative and very informative about the Norman period of history.
A fabulous plot accompanied by very lively, fascinating writing and richly portrayed three dimensional characters.

Extraordinary storytelling that perfectly masters so many different fiction genres: Young Adult, adventure, mystery and historical.
I am really looking forward to reading more titles from these two authors. Rose Collins on Goodreads, 05/01/2017

 5-star-4-website Warm Likable Characters and Plenty of Surprises

You’ve probably heard a book claim to be the next so-and-so. You know the next Narnia, or new Lord of the Rings, or next Nancy Drew. Well I often dismiss those claims. Especially since I’ve been let down so many times because the comparision didn’t live up. However, I will dare to make a comparission here… This Chester Bentley Mystery is the closest I’ve come to reading something that captures, as an adult, the feelings I had when reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys as a child.

There is a real sense of wonder, mystery and discovery as you read this book. I felt like I was going on the adventure with Bentely, Montague, Iona, Zara and Q. The pace is much slower than a traditional mystery, yet there is a palpable sense of urgency building through out the book.

The book has three separate story lines that all take part in different times. I was really impressed with the one following the Norman invasion of 1066. I have read multiple books about this time period and never had a Norman character that was as compelling as Richard. Usually the Normans are all cast as bad guys with a serious case of blood lust, and there are those characters too, but Richard is not like them. It was nice to see a character that was three dimensional, and thoughtful.

The only problem I had with the book is what I call the “Harry Potter Effect,” where the book basically praises and reward children for breaking the rules. In fact, if they didn’t repeatedly break the rules the mystery would never have been solved. Add to that, the fact that some of the adults are bumbling and clueless and others are out to get the children, and you have a bad mix. This is just one of my pet peeves. I want to see books set a better example and for writers to find more creative ways to move the plot ahead.

Bottom Line:

A really good book that mixes a historical fiction of the Norman invasion with a mystery at a boarding school. The mystery had plenty of surprises (in fact I had not guessed which “particular item” it was that disappeared,) the characters were warm and likable, and the pace well thought out. I hope to read more of Bentley’s adventures in the future.

NOTE: I received this book free from the author. Rosenectur on 26/12/2016