Any time that I can assist Rachel with her blog tours, I will definitely do my best. Thank you so much again to Rachel for including me on this tour. I’m excited to show you guys my review for this one. I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise, but I’m definitely not disappointed! As always, click on the banner to see the rest of the stops on the tour.
Let’s get it started, shall we?
The Oath by Michael L. Lewis
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Book One of a Planned Series
Page Count: 310
A BLOOD OATH
A DEADLY OUTCOME
1955. The polished veneer of a boys’ boarding school in Northern England masks a cadre of wickedness. Seniors viciously torment any junior they deem unfit. Jonathan Simon, in his first term is warned that there are three monsters in his dorm; seniors Flicker, Sleeth and Tunk, and that the code of conduct mandates no snitching.
Simon befriends two other juniors; pixie-faced Ian Gracey and witty, grossly overweight Arthur Crown. During a cross-country run, the three friends take a short cut and stumble into the cadet rifle range. Corps Sergeant Sleeth puts them through a degrading punishment using human excrement. The three juniors swear a blood oath never to allow another bully to abuse them.
Will this oath be their downfall, or will they make it through the school year? Snitching could have serious consequences but keeping silent will break their blood oath.
As Simon, Gracey and Crown try to survive this perilous journey, the constant threat of harm brings their friendship ever closer…
Michael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and The Book Guild UK for this free copy.
Bullying, Violence, Suicide,
Honestly books like this make me think that all boarding schools in Europe are full of bullies, man! Like, it must be a universal thing to have hard core bullies everywhere, but this is pretty intense. I don’t know if I could handle it, and I guess I’ll never have to worry about it since I’m not in the UK, not a boy, and not going to school anymore. Just saying. This kind of broke my heart to see the kind of torment that these bullied kids go through on an almost daily basis.
One of the main things you have to realize as a reader of this book is that: the punishment and system for discipline in this book is NOT something I agree with, but is important to the plot. There basically isn’t any discipline from the adults. They don’t stop the boys from bullying and physically punishing one another, and if anyone “snitches” by telling the adults what is going on, they are punished even worse. It’s basically a no-win situation if you are the one being bullied, and it breaks my heart to see that these boys can’t even tell someone what is going on.
Because of this, I really felt for our three main characters: Arthur, Johnathan, and Ian. They end up forming a friendship, maybe out of necessity in order to keep one another safe, but a friendship nonetheless. They go by their last names in situations like this, but I like to make things more personal and use their given name rather than their family name. You know? They aren’t in the military yet.
Sorry that wasn’t a funny joke. Moving on.
There’s a scene in the very beginning where we first meet Johnathan, and when he’s telling his mom goodbye before the train leaves, he was so afraid because he had heard that first years have the worst time. Dude, I don’t think he really understood what he was getting into, despite his mom saying that this school was very reputable and he would have a good education. If he had known what was waiting for him, I don’t think he would have gotten on that train.
Sometimes you need a book that has some grit, tension, and thrills in between all the fluffy and happy books out there. This is definitely one of them, and I would just say be prepared to read some stuff you aren’t ready for, and try to enjoy the ride.