Item description for Ring of Stone by Hugh McCracken...
Ring of Stone Hugh McCracken. A group of teenage intellectuals and a gang of toughs are thrown back in time to the brutal days of Medieval England. Their only hope of survival is to join forces. But how to save their own skins and right the inhuman brutality and injustice they find in their harsh new world? Illustrated.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Ring of Stone?
Timeless Tales 4 Star Review Feb 6, 2004
by M. Freeman
Set in England, seven young idealistic people stumble across one another at a local historical landmark known as the Ring of Stones. It is cold and dark and a few of them had been drinking. Their goal was to protest the poll tax about to be levied. Suddenly, they find themselves flung back in time to the year 1379. Confused and disoriented, they are found by the vicious and sociopathic Sir Gerald, brother to the local Lord, Sir Harold. With great pleasure, he selects one of the group and has him horrifically impaled as an example to others not to trespass. The others are brought to the castle for judgment.
The sergeant at arms, Martin, takes pity on them and attempts to help them. He manages to obtain an audience for this grief-stricken group. Before they are presented at the audience, the six remaining time-travelers share their pasts and skills amongst each other, determining what may be helpful. Rick-the scholar, with a photographic memory and extensive knowledge about this time, Malcolm-a fifth year medical student, Chris-Rick's cousin, there only because he followed him out of the house that night, Arthur and Dennis-home grown terrorists trained in urban warfare and rabble rousing as well as carpentry, and Jo-whose brother Pete was the one murdered and a master at judo.
At the audience, Sir Harold takes a guarded liking to the group and grudgingly adds them to his household. The group proves to be an asset but with disturbing beliefs. Arthur, Dennis, and Malcolm despise the disparity between the classes and have a decidedly vociferous socialistic view. Surprisingly, they are somewhat tolerated by their benefactor and protected by Rick with his quick thinking and communication skills. Even when Jo reveals that she is a woman, this is all taken in stride.
This is a brutal time with unrest building because a peasant revolt is about to occur. Sir Gerald is trying actively to oust his brother and take over his holdings. He holds no liking for this odd group found at the stones. As this lost group struggles to stay together, they are faced with adjustments and life changes even as events are building that could destroy them all.
This story has an interesting potential. The information on how life is lived in the medieval past is intriguing, but the abrupt graphic depiction of the impalement is shocking and gruesome. It comes on early in the book, a violent scene that would have been better to occur later on due to its gory imagery. The story itself is slow, with redundant conversation. For example, when Jo reveals she is a woman, the reader is dragged along while the character tells it in detail to everyone in their group. Plus, the socialistic rhetoric spouted by the characters is tolerated in a time when sentiments like that could get you killed. It added a sense of unrealism and disbelief to the story. I would recommend this story to those who really like time-travel, but it is not fast paced. If you want rousing adventure this is not the book to read, but you will get some historical fact and a good idea of the sentiment of that era.