The Prodigal Judge refuses to be a failure

Thrilling adventure, tender romance, pathos and humor combine to give The Prodigal Judge the sweep and cinemagraphic qualities of Gone with the Wind without that novel’s sexiness.

But what it lacks in sexiness, The Prodigal Judge more than makes up for its humanity.

In the opening pages, Vaughan Kester hooks readers with a mystery: why did General Quintart give a home to Hannibal Wayne Hazard yet refuse to ever see the boy?

The novel’s unlikely hero, 60-year-old Judge Slocum Price, a destitute drunk, doesn’t appear until chapter 9. By that time:

  • the General is dead;
  • 10-year-old Hannibal has survived two kidnapping attempts;
  • the lad’s trusted companion, Bob Yancy, has been saved by an English lord from certain death in the waters of the Mississippi;
  • a dastardly villian is plotting a slave uprising; and
  • the lovely Miss Betty Maloy has agreed to marry a man she doesn’t love.

By rights, Kester’s book should be a dismal failure. The book’s premise is far-fetched.  The plot is hopelessly complicated. The characters are an odd lot of rejects from other novels. And yet the whole book works.

The Prodigal Judge is proof a great read need not be a great book.

The Prodigal Judge
By Vaughan Kester
1911 bestseller # 2
Project Gutenberg EBook #5129
 
© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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