This is for me by far the best in the whole series. All twelve books would earn five stars in my view, but The Picts and the Martyrs, coming as it does just before our last adventure with Arthur Ransome's characters, is particularly enjoyable. By this stage we know the characters so well it is easier to just enjoy the story for its simplicity and comic moments. And there are plenty of these (even without Roger to provide them); the encounters with various "natives" who are unwillingly drawn into the childrens' secret, the aftermath of the burglary, and especially the final confrontation of the Great Aunt and her hunters. The story is set in the Lake District after so many books in other locations, and it really does seem like coming home at this stage, all the more realistic after the excitement of Missee Lee, and before the final adventure in the Scottish Highlands. The illustrations are exquisite, as always.
Having grown up with these books they are still perfect reading for adults. I would recommend all Arthur Ransome's wonderful series of Swallows and Amazons, but this one is definitely the book that I look forward to most while reading the others, and leaves me feeling in the best humour!