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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Tale Re-Told
Chris Priestley's atmospheric re-telling of 'The Rime Of The Ancient
Mariner' begs to be read aloud by candlelight on cold Winter evenings.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous verse narrative emerges from the mists
of history largely intact as a young boy takes off to sea with his Uncle in
a spirit of excitement and adventure, only to come adrift in...
Published 17 months ago by The Wolf

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) A straightforward re-telling of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in prose
A boy goes to sea with his uncle - but when the uncle shoots an albatross which has befriended their ship, horrors descend...

This is described as a `reinvention' of Coleridge's poem but it seems to me to be a straightforward re-telling. Priestly frames the previous narrative by a brief prologue and epilogue, and re-orients the story so that it is told by the...
Published 18 months ago by Roman Clodia


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) A straightforward re-telling of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in prose, 28 Sept. 2013
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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A boy goes to sea with his uncle - but when the uncle shoots an albatross which has befriended their ship, horrors descend...

This is described as a `reinvention' of Coleridge's poem but it seems to me to be a straightforward re-telling. Priestly frames the previous narrative by a brief prologue and epilogue, and re-orients the story so that it is told by the mariner's nephew, who is mentioned only briefly in Coleridge's text (`The body of my brother's son | Stood by me, knee to knee', 333-4).

For anyone who hasn't read the poem, this is a nice enough re-telling though I couldn't help feeling that it lacks the urgency, the terror and the horror of the original conveyed so well through the dislocated and compressed metre with those insistent internal rhymes (`His bones were black with many a crack, | All black and bare, I ween; | Jet-black and bare, save where with rust | Of mouldy damps and charnel crust | They're patch'd with purple and green', 181-5). Priestley's need to provide a motive for the mariner's cruel act seems to simplify the poem, as if too much exposition and explanation delimits its mystery.

So this is a nice stepping-stone for older children and teenagers - and a good way to stimulate anyone to read Coleridge's original.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars reproduction of a classic tale, 23 Oct. 2013
By 
H. Ashford "hashford" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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This is a straightforward re-telling of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, told through the eyes of a young boy who goes to sea with his uncle. Somehow the voyage goes wrong and the ship is driven south by a huge storm and becomes trapped in ice. The crew befriend an albatross but the boy's uncle shoots it with his crossbow, thus angering the crew. The crew's anger evaporates when the ice starts to melt, but the ship goes on to experience various other hardships and weird events and the mood of the sailors turns against the uncle again.

The story continues to unfold in a way that pretty faithful to Coleridge's original, but for the sake of people who aren't familiar with it I won't include any more spoilers here.

This book has a number of rave reviews, but personally I couldn't quite see the point of it. Coleridge's story is sort of weird and fantastical, random things seem to happen without apparent cause or explanation, and I found the ending rather unsatisfying. The very best thing about the original poem is Coleridge's wonderful use of language - which Priestley in no way manages to reproduce. Indeed I felt the language was stilted, and it failed to engage me.

Overall my feeling is that modern teenagers will find both the language and the story boring, and adults would get a lot more from reading the original.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Tale Re-Told, 20 Oct. 2013
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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Chris Priestley's atmospheric re-telling of 'The Rime Of The Ancient
Mariner' begs to be read aloud by candlelight on cold Winter evenings.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous verse narrative emerges from the mists
of history largely intact as a young boy takes off to sea with his Uncle in
a spirit of excitement and adventure, only to come adrift in more ways
that one as his emotionally troubled relative kills an albatross for no
defensibly good reason while their ship is trapped in the frozen wastes
of the Antarctic having been blown off course by an almighty storm.

From there to a flat ocean, under an unrelenting sun and delirious nights
where all manner of grotesque creatures twist and turn eerily in the depths,
the scene is set for the Uncle's penance to forever repeat the tale to
whomever is unlucky enough to stop and listen until his last breath is spent.

Mr Priestley's prose is beautifully lucid and respectful to the original work.

Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepily good, 20 Nov. 2014
By 
P Campbell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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I like Chris Priestley's stories. He is really good at setting the scene and his descriptions are spot on to create strong atmospheres. Most of his work fits into the horror genre and definitely with a strong Gothic feel.

This book is Priestley's own take on the 'Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner', by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is full of tension and some terror as a boy embarks on a journey aboard a cursed ship with his uncle. There are many twists and turns in this classic poem-turned-story, where the crew becomes doomed after a series of unfortunate events. Priestley doesn't deviate too much from the original telling, which I commend him for.

Enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A creepy young adult novel, 18 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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I decided to read The Dead Men Stood Together because I thoroughly enjoyed the author's previous book, The Dead of Winter. This novel is a basic retelling of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The story is about a boy who goes to sea with his uncle, but there are problems during the voyage and they end up suffering all manner of creepy events. This is an enjoyably creepy novel. Chris Priestley does not attempt to do anything original with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner so it may be a disappointing read for people who are already familiar with the story. I think it is perfect for a young adult audience who possibly won't be familiar with the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS READ :-), 9 Sept. 2014
By 
Mrs. A. M. Chadwick (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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This is the first book by Chris Priestley and I wasn't disappointed.

A young boy lived with just his Mum as the sea had claimed his father's life. His Mum was so protective of him that when his Uncle came to stay with them his Mum wasn't very happy as her brother-in-law started filling her sons mind with all the sea adventures he's been on, and her son started longing to go sailing again.

Finally on his Uncles last night his Mum could see how much it would mean to go and sail the seas again, so she gave in and said he could go. So off the youngster went to join the ship his Uncle was sailing on.

His uncle introduced him to the captain, and then shortly after they set sail, rough seas hit off Biscay, everyone had to pull together to get the ship safely though. With doing as much as he could, he got to know a lot of the other sailors, but the other sailors for some strange reason didn't seem to like his Uncle.The ship then arrived in Mindelo, which was in the land of the Cape Verde Islands, and this is where all the trouble starts to begin.

I'm not going to say anything else about the story as I don't want to spoil it for other readers.

Personally if I was a parent I would say this book is for 14 years and above.

I love the way the author wrote, from page one he'd caught my attention. He takes the reader on a fantastic journey that includes a little supernatural and horror as well as excellent descriptive writing. I felt like I too was also there on this ship journey. His characters have great depth and personality.

It's an easy read, this took me about 3 hours in total, as I just couldn't put the book down. :-)

Anyone who loves pirates will enjoy this book and the suspense that the author has included continues to grow every time you turn a page.

This book is a compulsive read and as a reader it gave me a lot of enjoyment. I look forward to reading other books by Chris Priestly. :-)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay YA retelling of THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER, 1 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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An unnamed boy lives with his widowed mother in a seaside village. One day his uncle - a sailor - arrives at their house. His tales of adventure and foreign lands entice the boy to join him on a ship heading for Japan. But things soon go wrong and when the ship's captain decides to head home, the ship's thrown drastically off course by an awful storm and finds itself marooned in a becalmed sea of ice.

As the crew struggles to survive hope comes in the form of an albatross whose visits are welcomed by the crew as a good omen. So when the boy's uncle - in a fit of madness - kills the albatross with his crossbow the crew's fury is such that not even the boy is willing to stand up for him. Unfortunately low morale is the least of their problems because the bird's death has condemned them all to a fate so awful that death would be a welcome release ...

Chris Priestley's YA dark and gothic novel is a retelling of THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER. However while Priestley does well in depicting the awful circumstances in which the sailors find themselves, the characters are too thinly drawn for the reader to empathise with. In particular the decision not to name the boy makes it difficult to relate to him and he is largely confined to being a witness who at best reacts to events rather than drives them. The biggest problem though is that the uncle remains an enigma whose motives are never fully explained or even explored. Although the book is faithful to the original text it offers nothing new to it and as such, while it's an okay read it isn't a great one.

The biggest disappointment in the book is the depiction of the uncle. He starts promisingly with the boy being warned that he's evil and surrounded by demons and it soon becomes clear that he's a braggart and a coward with a disturbing love for his crossbow. However his relationship with the boy remains shallow because there's little confrontation between them and while I did enjoy the neat way Priestley interlinks their fates it was too little, too late for me.

All in all it's a handy primer to THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER but it doesn't stand as a good book in its own right.
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5.0 out of 5 stars what a find!!, 30 Dec. 2013
By 
David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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Not only is this, for me, a superb retelling of a poem that has haunted me since I first heard it read when I was about ten and lured me into the chilling world of the supernatural but has also introduced me to a new writer who has a fabulous back catalogue that I can now plunder and bring a glow to the winter's chilly nights

There is a current trend particularly in children/YA literature to revisit tales of old re establishing the Truth of Story by telling and retelling, re evaluating and putting a modern psychological spin on established legends and folk tales that have helped children explain the complexity of the world around them. Bravo, say I. Each generation needs to invest in and re embroider these classic tales that have been bequeathed to us. Chris Priestley obviously has a pedigree and belongs to a tribe of writers who, undaunted, go to their sources and find new and exciting ways to update these tales of old.

There is little point in being critical or accuse these writers of plagiarism as stories evolve with the retelling, indeed the very future of our language depends upon such activities.

I endorse this book, unreservedly as a superb retelling of one of the classic poems of literature
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ancient mariner sails again, 16 Dec. 2014
By 
Hairy lip (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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This is quite a grown up childrens book which is drawn from the ancient mariner poem, it is written in a very accessible style (unlike the original poem) and is very much a page turner.
It is exciting and dark and full of terrible and horrific experiences for its characters that draw the reader in and move the story along at quite a pace, it is never boring or hard going and is a delight to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, compelling tale, beautifully written., 28 April 2014
By 
A. I. McCulloch "Andrea" (Co Durham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead Men Stood Together (Hardcover)
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Chris Priestley has a real gift with language, The Dead Men Stood Together is a beautifully crafted book. It opens with a glimpse of what has happened, an elderly tramp returns to his homeland with a shadowy companion, and then we read of the events that led to the tramp becoming a vagabond.
With Coleridge's Rime of The Ancient Mariner at its centre, this is a bleak and imaginative tale of what led up to the events of the poem - and then a flight of imagination with spectral events following. It's one for older children - 13 and above - and adults who enjoy a little Gothic horror may well enjoy it too.
The lyrical and descriptive language used throughout chimes perfectly with the atmosphere created in the original poem. Not an easy, comforting read - perhaps not one to be read before bed, but instead in the garden on a bright sunny day, if nightmares are to be avoided.
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The Dead Men Stood Together
The Dead Men Stood Together by Chris Priestley (Hardcover - 12 Sept. 2013)
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