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The Salt-Stained Book (Strong Winds Trilogy) Paperback – 16 Jun 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Golden Duck (UK) Ltd (16 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899262040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899262045
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 18.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 342,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'A Swallows and Amazons for our times' - Peter Willis
--Marine Quarterly

'funny and exciting ... Duffers will hate it' Amanda Craig --The Times 25.6.2011

'one of the great adventure stories of 2011' Sue Magee
--The Bookbag 5.7.2011

"An intense, absorbing read ... Get on board for a very modern adventure" Gideon Spanier --Evening Standard 11.8.11

It is, in short, terrific; wonderfully written it is both tough and charming. --The Lady 23.8.2011 Reggie Nadelson

This is a story full of adventure which saves its most satisfying revelations for the end. --Action on Hearing Loss magazine Dec / Jan 2012

a multi-layered novel which sweeps readers along on an exciting adventure, but which addresses many far deeper issues --IBBY Link Autumn 2011

there are innumerable twists and a pleasing denouement --Sailing Today October 2011

For those who love boats and sea-breezes the Salt-Stained Book ... should be a first port of call --The Observer - 24.07.2011

Quite simply, it's brilliant ... It's also a rich and subtle tribute that Arthur Ransome would have loved. --Water Craft - September 2011

"A very special book that will be enjoyed by the whole family." --Love Reading 4 Kids - November 2011

"page-turningly pacy writing" --Mixed Moss - Journal of the Arthur Ransome Society 2011

"While the Ransome influence infuses the book, A Ravelled Flag is a modern pacy adventure story" --Anglia Afloat - Jan/Feb 2012

From the Inside Flap

'It really is a wonderful book. It's also a fantastic tribute to Arthur Ransome and I'm sure he would have loved it... After your book I'm going back to reread his' - Jan Needle (author of My Mate Shofiq and A Fine Boy for Killing)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
With its beautifully simplistic cover illustration 'The Salt Stained Book' could all too easily just blend in to the mass of children's books on the shelves today, but I'd urge people to at least look twice, as whoever picks it up will discover their very own buried treasure.
Donny is a young boy living with his Mother and Gran, but when his Gran dies the authorities begin to question Donny's mother's capability to look after him. So they both set off for Suffolk to meet up with their mysterious Great Aunt. On the way misfortune takes a hand, Donny is taken into care, and his claims of a `Great Aunt Ellen' coming to meet them are disregarded as a rescue myth.
What ensues is an archetypal adventure story as Donny is determined to meet up with his Great Aunt, and his new friends are just as determined to help him. Whilst also trying to outwit the authorities, including nasty Inspector (Captain) Flint.
This is very much an adventure story in the same vein as Swallows and Amazons, so not surprisingly it does heavily reference a few of Arthur Ransome works. Well if you consider that when she was a child Julia Jones' parents owned Peter Duck (one of Arthur Ransomes Yachts) you can't blame her for wanting to tip a nod to what must have been an amazing influence.
It is a fantastically absorbing read, even with the many sailing terms that landlubbers like me may not quite understand, (but which really doesn't take anything away from the story). The ending, which I won't give away, is such a marvellous `edge of the seat' piece of writing. You also have to admire the way the author elegantly manages to tie up all the important story threads whilst leaving a few tantalisingly dangling, ready to entice you into the next instalment.
The Salt Stained Book is the first in a series of three books called `The Strong Winds Trilogy', and I for one am hooked already
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Format: Paperback
As one might expect from the biographer of Margery Allingham, Julia Jones is a mistress of the complex and enthralling plot, and this allows her to achieve the seemingly impossible task of bringing the world of Arthur Ransome's books of children, boats and the outdoors to vivid life in the 21st century world of children who are Looked After, who know about (but are forbidden to use) computers and who are trapped in the child care Matrix.

I found it hard to put down; so did my nine year old and sixteen year old sons, who are now demanding the next instalment of a promised trilogy. There is a terrifically satisfying villainess, in the Dolores Umbridge class, who wears Jimmy Choos, drives a convertible, is hideously plausible (to adults) and who revels in the abuse of power over children, with a supporting cast of loathsome policeman, sickeningly PC lady vicar and more.

The sailing scenes are satisfyingly correct and delightfully non-PC. As with Ransome, the locations are precise, well described and real, whilst the characters, with the exception of one family who are slightly too good to be true, are satisfyingly imperfect.

Buy this book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a lovely book well suited to it's target younger audience while still being entertaining for adults. It stands alone, features a plot which develops nicely and has some lovely twists.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What fun and enjoyment I had reading this book. Our hero, Donny, is thirteen-turning-fourteen who finds himself separated by Social Services et al. from his deaf `hippy' mother and placed into a foster home with the Rev. Wendy and her `house-husband' Gerald. Somehow he must meet the Great Aunt he's never seen, who is travelling from China, and reunite with his mother.

There are splendid descriptions of Political Correctness gone mad and of Jobsworths wielding their power, a couple of whom cross the line to bullying. Stereotypes? I don't think so.

Donny finds Allies, from other children at the Vicarage and at school plus a couple of sensible parents, his school tutor, Mr. McMullen, and two local ladies. With the help of his Allies, instinct and a copy of 'Swallows and Amazons' Donny starts learning to sail a dinghy.

Readers familiar with Arthur Ransome's 'Swallows & Amazons' books will enjoy spotting the allusions, though these are not confined to Ransome's books. How had I missed that to Donny's tutor until he says, "Did a bit of sailing myself years ago. Down channel"?

There are charming illustrations and vignettes by Claudia Myatt.

This is Part One of a trilogy. Hurry along Parts Two and Three, please!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Never having read any Arthur Ransome, I'm in a position to say this book works totally in its own right as a gripping adventure story for all ages (though I gather it contains much that will appeal to fans of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS.) Donny, the gutsy teenage hero, has readers rooting for him from the word go as he looks after his deaf and unstable mother and stands up to bullying authority figures. Donny is backed up by a motley crew of children - all believable and well-differentiated as characters and occasionally very funny. (The Manchester United dreamcatchers will have me smiling for a while.) The gradual development of damaged Anna's friendship with Donny was one of the many moving but feel-good aspects of the book. The final section of the book where Donny sets off alone in his boat to find his piratical great-aunt was breathtaking. Jones' writing seemed to really hit its stride and it was impossible to put the Kindle down.

So I'll be acquiring volumes 2 & 3 of the STRONG WINDS trilogy. I might even look out for this Ransome chap to see what I've been missing.

Finally, a word of praise for the illustrator. Even though I was reading on a Kindle, Claudia Myatt's charming little illustrations added much to my enjoyment of the story.
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