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The Salt-Stained Book (Strong Winds Trilogy) Paperback – 16 Jun 2011
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'A Swallows and Amazons for our times' - Peter Willis
'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)See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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.
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!
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
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.