Monday, November 10, 2014

The Usurper by William Locke

The Usurper by William J. Locke2.5 Stars

When a down-on-his-luck man comes across a dead acquaintance in the wilds of Australia, it doesn't seem such a big deal to go through his possessions and see what might be of use. One item is a deed to a piece of land. To claim it: pretend to be the owner.

At first the land is a disappointment. Nothing will grow in the black dust and the man is becoming desperate, only to find he is sitting on...a tin mine. 

'Jasper Vellacot' is now a millionaire philanthropist and his "Midas Touch" has accelerated. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold in his hands. And while he is accomplishing much good with his wealth, his secret is eating away at him and keeping him from making close friendships, especially a friendship with a certain beautiful woman who claims cousinship with him.

Then one day a man arrives on his doorstep. A ne'er do well, rough looking, heavy drinking man who looks an awful lot like the acquaintance he left for dead....

So it sounds good but this is probably my least favorite WJL. He got a little sidetracked with the main theme and I found some of the secondary characters more interesting than the primary ones, especially the poet "Bon Ami" and his passionate love for an Italian peasant girl (and subsequent action in WW1) 

In this story his main character, Jasper, becomes a politician (as several of his characters in previous books have done) and I felt a sort of dejavu while reading. 

An ok read but only for WJL fans.


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