21 NOVEMBER 1891, Page 10

Held Fast for England : a Tale of the Siege

of Gibraltar. By G. A. Henty. (Blackie and Son.)—The memorable Siege of Gibraltar was a capital motive for a story of adventure, and one wonders, indeed, why it comes so late in the series of Mr. Henty's books. He has made a very readable tale out of it. The hero, one Bob Repton, after an exciting adventure at school, is sent by his uncle to learn Spanish and the wine-trade while boarding with his newly married sister at Gibraltar. Of course he is there when the Siege begins, and remains on the Rock till within a few months of the cessation of hostilities. During the early part of the Siege, he goes for a cruise in the trader which brought him from England and has subsequently received a letter of marque, assists the Captain in taking some prizes, and returns, covered with fame, to the Kock. Later on, he twice earns the thanks of the Governor, and honourable mention in despatches, and finally leaves for his uncle's wine-office in Philpot Lane, the best-known volunteer on the Rock. The inci- dents of the Siege do not give Mr. Henty, or perhaps we should say Bob, much opportunity for startling adventures, so that it is out- side the Rock that Bob has to throw off the exuberance of his spirits. He goes through a fairly creditable series of adventures, however, with no hitches, which Mr. Plenty's care reduces to the average probability. He is credited, we must say, with rather unusual swimming powers, and extraordinary nerve for his age ; but heroes will be heroes. • The other characters, which include, of course, a quaint uncle, and some Irishmen, are amusing; and the background, the life and routine on the Rock, are put in well and effectively. Mr. Henty is not so much at home at sea as he is on land, being obviously a landsman ; but he is successful to a certain extent by dint of perseverance, because he knows how to describe a scene well. Boys will like the book none the less that the writer inculcates some practical lessons, and a good, hearty, honest English tone.