I have heard complaints about the interest and quality of this novel. I looked up the author and dates; the author was a popular Victorian novelist. This leads me to believe that he intentionally chose an awkward writing style; I think the author tried to write as lucidly and correctly as a yeoman farmer of the 17th century who self-professedly was not over-bright and did not, of course, have the time or interest for intellectual pursuits uncommon to and above his station.
Anyway, I enjoyed the story and its oddity. I am curious to see what else the author wrote and how it compares (and to test my theory). This story felt like it was missing background and closure (Alan Brandir anyone?) because of the style, but I like that. This is called mystery when properly done (most exquisitely done in Sutcliff novels). Modernists feel that every detail of the plot has to “work out” and that this is part of what makes good writing. This is not so, and good writing cannot be broken down so easily into components.