Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy

The Charlatan's Boy, Jonathan Rogers, WaterBrook Press, Fantasy, 2010, 305 pages.

Synopsis:  As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.

Thoughts: I am getting a great hankering for the southern style of writing. Roger's character development is reminiscent of the style of Flannery O'Connor. The southern grammar and vocabulary were very entertaining!

I found it interesting that Grady had very wise insights, such as when he reflected that townspeople can learn more about themselves from their neighbors than from a "phrenologist," someone who can determine character traits from indentations in a skull. He only thinks of the feechie act as "an honest trade" while he thinks he really is a feechie. For a show assistant, he is quite honest.

Rogers' characters are great fun! Ranging from the trickster Floyd, to the compassionate Short Fronie, to the whooping drovers, I had a glimpse of a different world.

I recommend this to anyone who likes adventure and a show, because this book is full of it!

Rating: 4 stars

This book was provided free by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

Review taken with permission from All rights remain with

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