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The Dead Men Stood Together by [Priestley, Chris]
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The Dead Men Stood Together Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 225 pages Audible Narration:
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Product Description

Review

Praise for Mister Creecher:
A brilliant counterpoint to Frankenstein, compellingly written. Chris Priestley goes from strength to strength

(Chris Riddell)

A dark, moving, creepy, funny tale about the making of a famous monster . . . only not the one you think it'll be. Splendid gothic stuff (Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies)

Praise for the Tales of Terror books: A wonderfully nightmarish journey of the imagination - old-fashioned storytelling at its best. (Daily Mail)

The gradual build-up of horror . . . is exquisitely done. My insides were still untangling themselves hours after I had closed the book (Sunday Telegraph)

Praise for The Dead of Winter: Deliciously creepy with lots of twists and turns to keep young readers on edge (Daily Mail)

Book Description

As scary and gory as Darren Shan, as gripping as R.L. Stevenson, a haunting adaptation of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 328 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408841738
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens; 1 edition (12 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DQ8H2MM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #559,861 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I prize originality in my fiction. I mean, accepting that there is only a finite number of plots in the world, accepting that all authors are derivative to some degree, accepting that all writing owes a debt to something that has gone before, I still prize at least an attempt to say something new, or do something new, or imagine something new.

Not always. I accept that Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is a significant work that takes a pre-existing character and creates a compelling backstory for her. (And, in doing so, creates something new which is not derivative and which stands on its own two feet as well as making its mark as a feminist/post-colonial work of art.) I accept that Shakespeare borrowed, pilfered and appropriated pre-existing myths and stories shamelessly. But considering the transcendent quality of what he did after having done so, I think I can forgive his plagiarism!

I'm not entirely sure that I can forgive Chris Priestly for The Dead Men Stood Together. It seems such a pointless exercise. Why bother with a (largely) straightforward retelling of a classic poem in rather more prosaic form? If Coleridge's masterpiece didn't exist, Priestly's achievement would have been huge. But it does. And as I was reading this novel (presumably aimed at some kind of transitional YA market) I was wondering why I wasn't reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner instead. Again. That is not something I have felt when reading (or re-reading) Wide Sargasso Sea, for instance.

I think it behoves an author to have a damn good reason to engage in this kind of fan-fic. It is unremarkable, it pales into utter irrelevance in the shadow of its progenitor and it just seems like a silly amount of effort expended on an artistic enterprise of no lasting value.
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