I think this is the first Mark Twain novel I’ve ever managed to finish, so I’m proud of myself for that. It’s pretty action-packed; we’re quickly introduced to Tom Canty the beggar, who happens to bear a striking resemblance to the Prince of Wales, Edward VI (though they’re not identical twins separated at birth; you just have to suspend your disbelief that two boys who are otherwise unrelated look so alike that even their parents mistake one for the other). I was interested especially in the fact that this fictional story is grounded in real characters, even though the introduction says that it’s a story that has been passed down through the ages and may or may not have actually happened. Yet when the two boys swap clothing to each experience the life of the other, Tom Canty interacts with Edward’s father the king, as well as his sisters Elizabeth and Mary. Edward, meanwhile, eventually decides that this was all Tom Canty’s fault and begins to fantasize about having him killed for being a pretender to the throne… and both boys are generally regarded by everyone in their vicinity as being insane, because each insists that he is who he actually is. Neither pretends to be the other.
A lot of shenanigans ensue after the introduction of this premise, and not all of them were especially interesting to me… so I only half listened to some of the middle parts of the story. But it’s a mildly entertaining concept.
My rating: *** 1/2
Language: clean, obviously
Sexual content: none, obviously
Political content: none that I could tell — and if it were there, it would be ancient history so I wouldn’t care.