Noah’s Castle by John Rowe Townsend

There are rumors of hardships to come in England and Norman Mortimer’s is not the type of man who just sits around and waits for things to happen.  He is a man of action and forward thinking.  Anticipating the worst, Norman moves his family from their lovely home to an old drafty castle looking home, a fortress really.  He secretly starts spending a lot of time in the basement with his son Geoff, hammering away at something that his wife and his other three children Nessie, Barry, and Ellen know nothing about.  Later it is discovered that Norman has built shelves all along the basement walls and has stock piled canned good and food staples.  He plans ahead by purchasing clothes for his children in larger sizes to accommodate growth.  In Norman’s plan, his family will be able to survive whatever hardships come their way and he will protect them and their home from the outside world.

But can such a plan work?  As the times get hard, and food is being rationed and stores are closing and people are starving…. what are the moral realities here?

Well hello dystopian fiction!

Days after I have finished this book I am still questioning how I felt about it.  I started out finding it slow and immediately taking a string dislike to Norman as a father and especially as a husband.  His lack of including his wife in any of his decisions and how he treated her as a possession without an opinion rubbed me the wrong way.

Early on in the book I sat it down and went on to a different read.

This past weekend I picked the book up again during the read-a-thon and found to my surprise that I was getting into the story line.  As England took the predicted economy turn, I had to wonder was Norman a genius or a control freak?  Or both?  I especially liked Norman’s son Barry who seemed to have a good head on his shoulder’s and cared about others outside his home as families were literally starving to death.

What was interesting is that this book was originally published in 1975 and recently re-published.  While there were parts of the book I enjoyed reading and found interesting, the ending felt unfinished to me and I found I had many questions unanswered.  I closed the final page with out a solid feeling about the book that still has not really left me.

I found on-line that apparently there once was a TV series of Noah’s castle that is out on DVD.


I also found this ring tone for Noah’s Castle which is supposed to have been taken off the ending theme song.

I received my copy for review of this book from October Mist Publishing

11 thoughts on “Noah’s Castle by John Rowe Townsend

  1. Jill W

    I agree with Laurel, I’ll pass also. When I saw the cover, I immediately thought the story would be a scary/horror theme. The story line sounds a little odd to me. I give you credit for sticking with it Sheila. 🙂

  2. This sounds like it was written when everyone was building bomb shelters in their back yards and we were taking shelter under our desks in school drills.

  3. I don’t think it’s a secret that I couldn’t stand this book so I’m glad you enjoyed it a bit more than I did. I just couldn’t get over the way the father was depicted. Well here is to better books in our future!

  4. librarypat

    In college, a few of us put forth this same scenario, about 10 years be for the book came out. It was rather frightening to realize how rapidly civilized behavior can deteriorate and mob or thug behavior take over. We take much for granted. If we look at world news, there are example of just how much at the mercy of these thugs the average person is.

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