A Ravelled Flag (The Strong Winds Trilogy) Paperback – 24 Nov 2011
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"dark, intense and suspense-filled action and adventure ... and a good dose of wit as well. It's a great read."
--Love Reading 4 Kids - November 2011
"the themes are darker but the page-turning narrative pace is just as strong"
--Jibbooms and Bobstays - The Nancy Blackett trust
The second book in the Strong Winds trilogy is more enjoyable than the Salt-Stained Book as some of the first episode's nasty characters are developed as actively conspiring against our heroes. --Otago Daily Times
"with [...]ingenious plotting, suspense-filled writing and a rare warmth towards its characters it delivers its rewards."
--The Marine Quarterly - spring 2012
A Ravelled Flag is not a simple book but I'm absolutely certain young readers will find it very rewarding[...] It's exciting and it's deep. Ransome would have loved it. --Indie e-book review (Jan Needle) 13.3.2012
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This picks up the tale where "The Salt Stained Book" left off, and is even more exciting IMHO (put that in to show I'm nearly as "down with the kids" as the Author). You do need to have read the first book to get the most from this, and a more than nodding acquaintance with Arthur Ransome's stories is useful, but not essential. In this episode characters are developed and broadened; there is a truly wonderful old heroine, some seriously criminal baddies, counterbalanced ultimately by the hero's lovely allies, and good detailed sailing and boat stuff. Oh, and lots of litle homages to Ransome - I only spotted the Mastodon after I'd finished reading.
I can't wholly explain the appeal these stories hold for me, but in part it's having had to deal with some of these people - petty officials in the "caring professions" like those who make the protagonist's life miserable - throughout my 35 year working life as a teacher of teenagers. People who use jargon to confuse instead of to illuminate, people who insist on rigid adherence to rules when flexibility would be so much kinder and more sensible, bullies who use the exigencies of everyday life to humiliate others, and so on. But this is a book for "young adults" I guess - awful term - and it has tremendous narrative drive and empathetic goodies. And such bad baddies . . .
Now I'm waiting for the third and final book. And a small word of advice: don't be tempted by the Kindle edition - the books themselves are delightfully illustrated and produced and definitely enhance the reading experience.
The idea of the elderly relative still prepared to face the wrath of the authorities and the children with enough guts to fight their corner meant that I didn't hesitate in grabbing the third book.
Right up to date with issues of today that are troubling but solvable.