A rogue’s tragedy by Bernard Capes
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Bernard Capes’ A Rogue’s Tragedy is a classic gothic novel published in 1896. Set in the 17th century, it follows the story of a young rogue named Dick Shelton, who sets out to avenge his father’s murder and reclaim his rightful inheritance. The novel is known for its intricate plot, vivid descriptions of characters and settings, and its exploration of themes of betrayal, revenge, and redemption.
The story takes place in the aftermath of the English Civil War, during the period known as the Restoration. Dick Shelton, the protagonist, is a young man whose father, Sir Daniel Brackley, has been murdered by his own half-brother, Oliver. Oliver then takes control of Sir Daniel’s estate and attempts to kill Dick as well. Dick narrowly escapes and joins a band of outlaws, where he becomes known as “the Black Arrow.”
As he plots his revenge against Oliver, Dick falls in love with Joanna Sedley, the daughter of a local baronet. Joanna becomes a key player in the story, as she helps Dick navigate the complicated political and social landscape of the time. Together, they uncover a web of deceit and betrayal that goes beyond their own personal vendettas.
One of the strengths of A Rogue’s Tragedy is Capes’ vivid descriptions of the landscape and the people who inhabit it. The novel is set in the rugged, untamed countryside of England, where the characters must navigate treacherous forests, winding rivers, and murky swamps. The setting provides a fitting backdrop for the novel’s themes of danger and uncertainty, and Capes’ descriptions help to create a rich and immersive world for the reader.
Another notable aspect of the novel is its exploration of moral ambiguity. The characters in A Rogue’s Tragedy are complex and multifaceted, with their own motivations and agendas. Dick, the hero of the story, is not without his flaws, and the novel does not shy away from depicting the darker aspects of his personality. Similarly, the villains of the story are not one-dimensional caricatures, but rather fully realized characters with their own histories and motivations.
At its heart, A Rogue’s Tragedy is a story about redemption. As Dick navigates the dangerous political landscape of the Restoration period, he is forced to confront his own flaws and weaknesses. Through his experiences, he learns the true meaning of loyalty, friendship, and love. The novel’s ending is both tragic and redemptive, as the characters must come to terms with the consequences of their actions and find a way to move forward.
In conclusion, A Rogue’s Tragedy is a classic gothic novel that continues to captivate readers over a century after its initial publication. With its intricate plot, vivid descriptions of characters and settings, and exploration of themes of betrayal, revenge, and redemption, it is a work that remains relevant and engaging to modern audiences. Capes’ skillful storytelling and evocative prose make A Rogue’s Tragedy a compelling and unforgettable read.