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The Poldark Omnibus by Winston Graham

The Poldark Omnibus

by Winston Graham

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Ross Poldark] s the first in the Poldark series, which is set in Cornwall in the late18th Century.
The story opens with Ross returning from the American war, to find that his father has died and he has inherited his father’s house, lands and mines. His sweetheart has meanwhile fallen in love with a rival and Ross is bitter and takes to the bottle. Ross is a bit of an outsider and does not fit in with the hoi poloi. He makes things worse by championing the underdogs on his estate and by marrying Demelza a miner’s daughter. Winston Graham must have had a series in mind when he wrote Ross Poldark because it very much sets the scene and establishes the characters for the next in the series.

A very enjoyable story (4 Stars)

Demelza is the second book in the Poldark series. Demelza, the miner's daughter that Poldark rescued from a fairground rabble, is now his wife. In this book she begins to mature into a country squires wife. Some of her rough edges are smoothed off and she is introduced into society. Demelza's efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry bring her confusion and heartache, despite the joy in the birth of their first child. She schemes to bring together her friend Verity and Captain Blamey, who five years earlier had been rejected by her family because he had accidently killed his first wife while in a rage. Her brother blames Ross for this and they are at loggerheads.

Meanwhile Ross is developing his mining interests and making both friends and enemies. In particular, the seeds of dispute with Warleggan the Banker are sown. Warleggan is the fourth book in the Poldark series.

Ross champions the cause of one of his tenant’s who was caught poaching but the magistrates commit him to prison for three years. He is moved to a hell hole of a prison where he contracts some foul disease in the crowded and unsanitary conditions. He dies from a botched attempt by one of the prisoners to bleed him. Ross is bitter and it further fuels his contempt for the local magistrates.

When another of his tenants murders his wife because of her unfaithfulness Ross helps him to escape to France, even knocking down several soldiers in the attempt. Fortunately for him he manages to return home undetected but suspected by the local Captain. The Captain gives him a friendly warning.

Ross faces some financial difficulties and even bankruptcy. He takes desperate measures to avoid his mine being bought by Warleggan.

The pace and interest has really picked up in this page-turner. (4 Stars)
  TheTortoise | Nov 13, 2008 |
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