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The Lion of Sole Bay (Strong Winds Series) Paperback – 7 Oct 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

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  • Black Waters (Strong Winds)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Golden Duck (UK) Ltd (7 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899262180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899262182
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 18.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 677,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lion of Sole Bay


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Format: Kindle Edition
This author's Strong Winds trilogy, with its acknowledged debt to and echoes of Arthur Ransome translated into a tale set in a relentlessly and realistically troubled modern world, stands as a remarkable achievement. Is this new book a continuation of that trilogy? Not really, I think. Luke, the main character, was a minor player in those stories and this novel is a tighter structure altogether. The issues raised are subtler and more complex - and more terrifying as well. The characters are drawn with unsentimental accuracy and some ugly depths are plumbed of a sort which never appeared in Strong Winds. This is an ambitious novel in a way different from its predecessors - and I think an advance on them. Luke is hoping for a week with his father in his boat Lowestoft Lass. He's thwarted by an injury to his father in which the hyperactive Angel is involved. Meanwhile Helen is desperate to get home to Holland but is trapped on board the Drie Vrouwen with Hendrike, her drug-fuelled mother and Elsevier, the Kapitein, the fanatical friend who controls her. These two women are dangerous and disturbing. What binds all these elements together, besides the waning moon and Hallowe'en? A ship's figurehead used as a pub sign which is both a memorial of a seventeenth century naval battle between the English and the Dutch and a potent national symbol which Elsevier believes has to be recovered to further her delusional dreams of power. This is an extraordinary mix which at first sight looks almost impossible to handle as a coherent plot. But what makes this a finer achievement that the trilogy is that Jones succeeds magnificently. The plot lines are sharp; the writing, especially in the tense, dangerous climax, is taut and economical: the tension is almost unbearable.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
As a grown-up I loved the first three books of the series, and particularly the parallels with Arthur Ransome's more fantastic Swallows and Amazons stories, with their dastardly villains. The Lion of Sole Bay has links to Ransome as well, but to his most dramatic story and to tales from an earlier time. Did Old Peter know Ransome? What is the significance of the name of his boat, his cat and the other names he uses? Julia Jones's villains have more depth in this book, a deranged political extremist, a pathetic drug dependent assistant and a teenager with dreadful choices to make. The failings of support systems for vulnerable children are presented more subtly than the in the earlier stories and the desperation of Angel's parents, clumsily loving her but receiving no help, is movingly described. The book is marketed for children, and certainly young readers who enjoy a challenging story, especially those who like tales of adventure and boats, will love this. But The Lion of Sole Bay works at several levels and adults will appreciate it too. This is Julia Jones's best book to date. There are obviously more episodes to come and I look forward to them.
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Format: Paperback
It was the same with Julia Jones' previous three books in the Strong Winds series. Though I know how long it takes to write a book, how much serious thought, how much effort at revising again and again, I still couldn't stop myself reading Lion of Sole Bay from page one right through to the end without stopping, never mind that by the end it was two in the morning. Anyway, now I am grown up I don't have parents calling to me, 'Put out that light!'

Here I mean to say that though this is a book about children, and children fill the action, and save themselves in the end, it's also without doubt, a book for adults. That's because the characters, no matter what age they are - and there are several strong adult characters in this book, are all very strongly there, interacting with each other or just being themselves.

Julia Jones has a wonderful belief in the children's strength and sense. I'll leave it to other reviewers to explain what problems in the real modern world they have to deal with, though this is not foremost a problem book. I loved a new character in this series, fizzing Angel, and I hope she and the other kids will go on being friends; she needed friends and she has proved herself loyal and tender hearted. Dutch Helen, with her rasping English and cold drive to save herself, is another strong character; silently tormented, she reminds me of Luke's half-sister Anna in the three earlier books. I hope her future turns out as well as Anna's did. Bill the Suffolk fisherman was another strong and physically realised character. There is a moving scene in the hospital where he is struggling through morphine to look after his son by making sure everything was all right on board the Lowestoft Lass.
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Format: Kindle Edition
With `The Lion of Sole Bay', Julia Jones has opened the Strong Winds sea chest again.

You can read `The Lion of Sole Bay' as a standalone, and if you do so, you'll rush back to read the Trilogy. If you have read the Trilogy in advance you'll find in `The Lion of Sole Bay' an author in full stride, completely comfortable with her writing style. This is a tour de force. Certainly I have grown into the Jones style of storytelling over the past three novels and this time I sat down with some expectations, which were not disappointed. Jones managed to far exceed my already high expectations. She has taken a `minor' character from the Trilogy, Luke, to be the `hero' of this tale. In doing so she reminds us that there are no `minor' characters, that everyone has a story. Jones' ability to present the world through the eyes of a twelve year old is impressive, and we get lost in Luke's `imagination' to the point that we start to `believe' as he does.
`The Lion of Sole Bay' has two `heroines', both unlikely - Angel has ADHD and Helen is being reared by a seriously demented mother. The result is the sense of a `community' story, with characters' lives interwoven and the reader feels every bit a part of the story. Jones is, as ever, uncompromising in her portrayal of such `issues' as drugs and disability, but the issues are so embedded into the narrative that they never jar or threaten the storyline. They simply make the characters more real because they have the `real' flaws of `real' people. This requires expertise and sensitivity on the part of an author, and Jones never skips a beat. I am particularly impressed by the way Jones draws adult characters such as `mad' Peter, and Helen's drug-fuelled mother Hendrike.
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