Through the Fray
By G. A. Henty
Originally published 1886
The Victorian novelist G. A. Henty wrote a multitude of excellent books during his career. But many of his stories are “Henty-esque”, that is, they tend to have very similar plotlines. Not so Through the Fray. Its main conflict is internal, its main hero (Ned Sankey) is a mill-owner, and its main heroine (Mary "Polly" Powlett) does not marry the mill-owner.
Through the Fray follows the adventures and misadventures of Edward “Ned” Sankey, a son of a retired officer. This story is set in the years 1811-12. It opens with Ned in the school of a brutal tyrant Mr. Hathorn. As a result of his unjust punishments, Ned leads a rebellion against him, which ends in a courtroom trial and the loss of Mr. Hathorn’s job. While good came out of Ned’s revolt, and the school is now under the kindly Mr. Porson, Ned’s father warns him about the dangers of his quick temper. “Beware of your temper, Ned, for unless you overcome it, be assured that sooner or later it may lead to terrible consequences.” (pg. 79)