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Hugh T McCracken

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Member Since: Mar, 2003

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Books
· To Read the Bones

· Masters of the Hunt

· Heads up for Harry

· Shaken & Stirred

· The Tangled Skein (Alistair Kinnon)

· The Knotted Cord (Alistair Kinnon)

· Return from the Hunt

· Grandfather & The Ghost

· The Time Drum

· Rules of the Hunt

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Ring of Stone
by Hugh T McCracken   


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Books by Hugh T McCracken     View all 11
· Masters of the Hunt
· Heads up for Harry
· The Knotted Cord (Alistair Kinnon)


Category: 

Mainstream

Publisher:  Bewrite Books, UK ISBN-10:  190422461X Type:  Fiction
Pages: 

426

Copyright:  Dec 1 2002


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Ring of Stone was an EPPIE2003 finalist for best Action/Adventure novel.

Two groups of strangers — one middle-class students struggling for social justice, the other bar-room toughs out for a brawl to right their own perceived wrongs — are thrust though a twist in the loop of time to the violent days of medieval England.Trapped in the dark era where human life is cheaper than bread and where horrific torture is popular entertainment, they find they must join forces or die.Dogged by death every step of the way, each finds that experience of modern life has provided them with a skill that might — just might — save the band from an excruciating fate. One of the group — having lost a brother to the barbaric torture death of impaling — hides a very special secret.But as well as their own struggle for survival, the youngsters — each a convinced protestor — find themselves in a moral dilemma ... how to save their own skins whilst fighting against the inhuman brutality and injustice suffered by new friends in a time where they don’t belong.


Excerpt

Rick could still feel his ears ring when he sat up. Odd, the moon had gone. Covered by a cloud, perhaps? No, above him, he could see the sky was brilliant with stars. The smell of explosives hung in the air.

Chris lay curled up beside him, very young and vulnerable. Malcolm lay, one of two black shapes, stretched out close to one of the perimeter stones. While Rick watched, Malcolm stirred, sat up, and held his head in both hands.

“God. I’ll never drink that stuff again, what a kick, what a head.”

“Are you all right?” Rick said.

“I’ve been better. What the hell happened?”


Professional Reviews
Review by Steve Mazey
A group of University students following the demands of their consciences by protesting, and a group of ‘Bar Room Toughs’, more out to cause mayhem than seriously protesting, get transported through time into the brutal world of Medieval England. They are soon confronted by Master Gerald, the brother of the local Lord, who promptly arrests them and has one of their number executed in a most gruesome manner (reminiscent of Vlad the Impaler at his best).


Upon being taken to the castle of this Lord (Sir Harold) the party are freed by the Lord, much to the embarrassment of Master Gerald who is forced to make penance for his treatment of the group and the killing of one their number in particular. And so they find themselves in the midst of a power struggle between Harold and his younger half brother Gerald.


One of the students (Malcolm) demonstrates his medical knowledge and assumes the role of physician in Harold's court, whilst other members of the group utilise skills they have from their own time to assume roles in this society.


But their position remains tenuous, dependent entirely upon the favour of the Harold Fitzwilliam, Lord of the manor. Should anything happen to him and his half-brother Gerald assume his position, they would be instantly at risk of his wrath. This book is aimed at a slightly older readership than Rules of the Hunt, which has a similar time travel plot device. The characters are older, at around twenty years old, and the time-displaced party being a more uneven, ill-matched grouping than in ‘Rules’, made up of a mix of University Students and Local "Bar Room Toughs".


This imbalance makes for more complex character interaction even before their change in circumstance is accounted for. And as for Master Gerald, he is an extremely sadistic individual, capable of some of the most horrific gruesome acts, and does not seem to have a single redeeming feature to his personality— a wonderful character to read.


These gruesome acts are presented in sufficient detail to fully illustrate the horrors of the time the party find themselves in without going over the top with excessive detail. This lack of explicit detail should also serve to make this book suitable for a teenage readership. In my years as a teenager (remembered from a distance and through a haze) this inclusion of the violence of days gone past would have been fascinating and would have served to increase my attention to the book.


But that they are not described in too gory a manner should mean they would not offend the parents of the potential readers. Especially when you consider the enormous amount of historical information Hugh McCracken has included in this book. This is a richly detailed world, but written in such a way as to not obscure the plot with minutiae. And any reader of this book will take away a much greater familiarity with life in Medieval Feudal society.


When I first started to read this book I was a little concerned it might not have a readily definable audience. Having read it though I have realised because this book has a wide appeal, I can see this appealing to fantasy fans (for the detail of life in a medieval setting), to history fans (for the same reasons) and to sf fans (as time travel is involved). I can also see it appealing to teenage and older readers alike. The plot is solid, the storytelling smooth, flowing with a steady pace, the characters well formed and their interactions thoroughly understandable.


Review by Steve Mazey, Editor of Eternal Night, www.eternalnight.co.uk











Reader Reviews for "Ring of Stone"


Reviewed by Hugh McCracken 9/22/2003

Ring of Stone by Hugh McCracken
Bewrite Books, 426 pages, ISBN 1-904224-61-X
Two groups of teenagers – one middle-class students struggling for social justice, the other bar room toughs out for a brawl to right their own perceived wrongs – are thrust through a twist in the loop of time to the violent days of Medieval England.
Trapped in a dark era where human life is cheaper than bread and horrific torture is a popular entertainment, they find they must join forces or die.
Dogged by death every step of the way, each finds that experience of modern life has provided a skill that might – just might – save the band from an excruciating fate. And one of the group – having lost a brother to the barbaric torture death of impaling – hides a very special secret.
But as well as their own struggle for survival, the youngsters – each a convinced protestor – find themselves in a moral dilemma … how to save their own skins whilst also fighting against the inhuman brutality and injustice suffered by new friends in a time where they don't belong.
In the latest in his popular Time Shift series, Hugh McCracken transports his readers into the harsh realities of days gone by with a unique talent for interweaving breathtaking adventure and fine historical detail.
These utterly believable pages turn faster and faster to reach an unforgettable climax as McCracken casts his spell.
Excitingly illustrated throughout by Alan Geldard.
Synopsis version of:
Review by Steve Mazey, Editor of Eternal Night, www.eternalnight.co.uk



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Ring of Stone by Hugh McCracken
Bewrite Books, 426 pages, ISBN 1-904224-61-X
A group of University students following the demands of their consciences by protesting, and a group of ‘Bar Room Toughs’, more out to cause mayhem than seriously protesting, get transported through time into the brutal world of Medieval England. They are soon confronted by Master Gerald, the brother of the local Lord, who promptly arrests them and has one of their number executed in a most gruesome manner (reminiscent of Vlad the Impaler at his best).
Upon being taken to the castle of this Lord (Sir Harold) the party are freed by the Lord, much to the embarrassment of Master Gerald who is forced to make penance for his treatment of the group and the killing of one their number in particular. And so they find themselves in the midst of a power struggle between Harold and his younger half brother Gerald.
One of the students (Malcolm) demonstrates his medical knowledge and assumes the role of physician in Harold's court, whilst other members of the group utilise skills they have from their own time to assume roles in this society.
But their position remains tenuous, dependent entirely upon the favour of the Harold Fitzwilliam, Lord of the manor. Should anything happen to him and his half-brother Gerald assume his position, they would be instantly at risk of his wrath. This book is aimed at a slightly older readership than Rules of the Hunt, which has a similar time travel plot device. The characters are older, at around twenty years old, and the time-displaced party being a more uneven, ill-matched grouping than in ‘Rules’, made up of a mix of University Students and Local "Bar Room Toughs".
This imbalance makes for more complex character interaction even before their change in circumstance is accounted for. And as for Master Gerald, he is an extremely sadistic individual, capable of some of the most horrific gruesome acts, and does not seem to have a single redeeming feature to his personality— a wonderful character to read.
These gruesome acts are presented in sufficient detail to fully illustrate the horrors of the time the party find themselves in without going over the top with excessive detail. This lack of explicit detail should also serve to make this book suitable for a teenage readership. In my years as a teenager (remembered from a distance and through a haze) this inclusion of the violence of days gone past would have been fascinating and would have served to increase my attention to the book.
But that they are not described in too gory a manner should mean they would not offend the parents of the potential readers. Especially when you consider the enormous amount of historical information Hugh McCracken has included in this book. This is a richly detailed world, but written in such a way as to not obscure the plot with minutiae. And any reader of this book will take away a much greater familiarity with life in Medieval Feudal society.
When I first started to read this book I was a little concerned it might not have a readily definable audience. Having read it though I have realised because this book has a wide appeal, I can see this appealing to fantasy fans (for the detail of life in a medieval setting), to history fans (for the same reasons) and to sf fans (as time travel is involved). I can also see it appealing to teenage and older readers alike. The plot is solid, the storytelling smooth, flowing with a steady pace, the characters well formed and their interactions thoroughly understandable.
Detail version of:
Review by Steve Mazey, Editor of Eternal Night, www.eternalnight.co.uk



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Books by
Hugh T McCracken



Ring of Stone

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Masters of the Hunt

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Heads up for Harry

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The Knotted Cord (Alistair Kinnon)

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




The Tangled Skein (Alistair Kinnon)

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




Shaken & Stirred

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Amazon, more..




Return from the Hunt

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..



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