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18 Reviews
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 (13)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me enthralled right to the end!
I am a very picky reader and it takes me a while to find a book I like, but this one is really excellent and I am so glad that I found it! I hope there's a sequel, I love books in a series, (I am always disapointed when they end!). I think that anyone of any age could read this book. I have recomended it to all my friends and I have a list of people who want to...
Published on 22 Nov 2005 by Deborah

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A little better suited to a younger audience.
The Adventures of Sam Witchall series are entertaining to a degree, well written it's true but lacking something for the more mature audience. These novels, and I have read three of them, are better suited to a young, possibly more adolescent reader than for adult consumption. Their phraseology and plots are better described as hardly convoluted. indeed simplistic may be...
Published 23 months ago by Brazen Charter


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me enthralled right to the end!, 22 Nov 2005
I am a very picky reader and it takes me a while to find a book I like, but this one is really excellent and I am so glad that I found it! I hope there's a sequel, I love books in a series, (I am always disapointed when they end!). I think that anyone of any age could read this book. I have recomended it to all my friends and I have a list of people who want to borrow it. It is well written and there is anough factual infomation to keep the older generation happy, (I know a lot more about the Navy than I did before I read this book!). I would advise you to read it, I just couldn't put it down!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chain-shot, 14 Oct 2005
By A Customer
This is the second best book I've ever read - second to Antony Horowitz. This book grips you with unexpected turns. I'd recommend to anyone interested at all in history. It describes life on a Royal Navy ship; with such detail, you can imagine being there. My Dad bought it for me because he is a Jack Aubrey fan (Master & Commander). I thought it wouldn't be that good because I'm not interested in that stuff myself - but this book changed my mind in a big way!
Sam, aged 10
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Navy Larks, 30 Aug 2007
Well hurrah for Paul Dowswell and extra rum all round! As a boy I was introduced to the nautical novels of the peerless Alexander Kent; Dowswell is his worthy heir. The hero, Sam Witchall, narrates his adventures as he embarks upon a grim life as a British naval rating. The action is fast-paced, the author's knowledge of the era shines through the prose and as a reader I was definitely left wanting more. Fortunately, Dowswell has followed this up with the equally impressive 'Prison Ship', just released in paperback. Unfortunately, the third in the series is said to be the last; I think there is a lot more mileage in young Witchall yet though...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY THIS BOOK NOW IT IS GREAT, 10 Oct 2005
I was overwhelmed by the sheer excitment pouring off the pages of this adventure story. The characters are great, the plot line is unsinkable and the battle scenes are breath-taking. If you are a fan of adventure and gripping tales that keep you reading late into the night then this is the book for you.
The characters are all fantastic and you can see how much the writer has enjoyed writing this book. H ebetter hurry up and write the sequel otherwise I might explode with excitement.
if you don't buy this book then you are missing out on a wonderful experience that everyone can enjoy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powder Monkey is Fantastic, 10 Oct 2005
By A Customer
This book is a wonderful read for children of all ages. the characters are wonderful and by the end of the book you are really involved with their adventures.
Some of the fighting scenes are so exciting and wild that you almost can't read on for fear of what might happen.
This book has to be one of the best childrens books to have come out in a long time, it has great characters, nail-biting plots and terrifying battles. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in pirates, the old navy or history in general it is a fantastic read and must be bought immediatley without delay.
I will be keeping an eye out for the many awards it will soon be gathering around it.
I can't wait for the next one!!!!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking read!, 10 April 2007
By 
G. Stokes (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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Powder Monkey is a great read, combining the story of Sam Witchell and his adventures at sea and his friendships against the description of the historical setting and the ship's layout. The sea battles are excitingly told and give a sense of what must have been the often gruesome reality of life for a young boy at sea. The ending is a sure invitation to reading the next book to find out what happens to Sam next. It appeals to a wide age range - my 10 year old niece loved it and I'm a well over 40 something who loved it too - a good bit of escapism, that you could lose yourself in; we're both about to read the sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever for 10 year old, 8 Dec 2008
By 
H.Bee (Morpeth, England) - See all my reviews
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My 10 year old son read this as it was recommended by a friend. He was enthralled, said its the best book he's read (he reads all the time). It is the only book I know of that has made him cry, it has a sad ending. I think he empathised with Sam Witchall which made the story more vivid. Its a historical story of life on a ship and he asked and learnt a lot about this as well. Brilliant read for young and older readers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exceptionally well-written, 1 Mar 2006
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Powder Monkey (Paperback)
There were three good novels set in the Napoleonic era published in 2005 and this was one. In terms of writing, it's the best (the other two, Secrets of the Fearless and Peter Raven Under Fire are more in the rollocking romantic vein) and most thoughtful. One is immediately engaged in Sam's struggles to find his feet when press-ganged, and his dawning intelligence as to the injustice of the social structure, his friendship with a boy-officer and his protection of a cat are all moving. What it lacks is more of a narrative drive. It is very well worth reading if you like the period or books about the sea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yo ho ho!, 10 Mar 2010
By 
C. E. MCKEOWN (KENT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought this a few years ago and 'rediscovered' it... A thoroughly entertaining read. The book is beautifully presented in the hardback edition - when removing the dustcover the book hard cover is printed and of quality. The inside front and back covers have worthy illustrations too. The story itself is set in the 19th century - a massively important time in English maritime history. Dowswell brings alive the story of Sam Witchall - young lad looking for adventure on the open seas. His first post on a merchant ship is fine before he is press ganged onto the war ship 'Miranda' where the story kicks up a gear.

An enjoyable, descriptive style that thrusts you into this young man's world. The beauty of the writing is that it works if you are a young adult or adult alike. I have purchased the follow up novel to this (yet to be read) and it is nestled within my book pile 'to read'.

A sea-salty recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars More accessible that Patrick O'Brien, 31 Aug 2013
By 
bmbower (Praha, Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Powder Monkey: The Adventures of Sam Witchall (Adventures/Sam Witchall 1) (Paperback)
Having attempted Patrick O'Brien multiple times, I was incredibly pleased to discover Powder Monkey.

Although friends and family have convinced me of the authenticity and depth of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, I could never get past the arcane dialogue, excessive detail, or extended discussions where nothing much seems to happen (I am referring to the opening of the Yellow Admiral). Basically the barrier to entry was too high and I either got bored or discouraged and moved on to something else.

By contrast, Dowswell is accessible and moves with the speed of a 19th Century British Frigate. In addition to modernizing speech, he streamlines ship details by focusing on "big issues" such as the injustice of being press ganged, the deplorable conditions aboard ship, and the rhythm of daily life and battle. He gives us enough detail that scenes and characters feel real - we can hear the creak of the ship, smell the tar, excrement, and salty sea air, feel the fear of climbing in the rigging and facing enemies in battle, and sympathize with the desolation of sailors who cannot hack the claustrophobia of ship life.

The book is tagged "young adult." But this is an artificial label. Okay, sex is downplayed and it is less gritty than Aubrey-Maturin novels. But from speaking to friends and from the several hundred pages I've read of O'Brien, I'd say this novel is just as authentic, action packed, violent, and moving. You may not walk away able to identify every sale on the frigate or throw around seafaring slang of the early 19th century, but you will have some idea of what it was like to be a boy in the British navy of the time. Highly recommended.
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