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Victory Hardcover – 2 Mar 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head; First Edition edition (2 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0370328914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370328911
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.5 x 18.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,362,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Meticulously researched and written with economy and sympathy" (Amanda Craig The Times)

"Themes of loss, displacement and - eventually - adjustment and acceptance link two very different narrative strands in this evocative novel . . . The historical background is meticulously researched but above all this is an engrossing story for children to enjoy" (Kate Agnew Guardian)

"Susan Cooper hits top form with Victory . . . A rousing yarn, crammed with enough accurate detail to keep any history teacher more than happy" (Nick Tucker Independent)

"Susan Cooper shows great empathy for her characters . . . this is masterful historical writing which vividly brings the past to life" (Publishing News)

"The emotional demands of contemporary family life are beautifully counter-pointed with the privations of early 19th century seafaring . . . An evocative novel" (Lesley Agnew The Bookseller) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Both swashbuckling and moving, no child should miss this book!

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is similar territory to King of Shadows, by the same author. It tells two stories, each with alternating chapters bearing the name of the character (somewhat a la Noughts and Crosses but with less originality).

Story number 1 is about Molly, who must be about 11 and has moved to America because of some clichéd family problems. She is drawn to the history of the Victory and Lord Nelson after a kindly bookshop owner lets her have a book all about it for a song when she can't cough up the necessary $25. Her syrupy-sweet mother is always on hand to comfort her whenever she thrown a tantrum and eventually they travel back to England where she yet again freaks out, the reasons for which I will keep to myself lest it spoil the ending. 1 star awarded for this storyline of the book.

More engaging as a person and certainly more convincing as a piece of narrative is the sub-tale of Sam Robbins who is chain-ganged into working on the Victory. He toughens up quickly and spends his time pondering about the battle that is to come as well as dealing with pigs and rats. 2 stars or even 3 for Sam's story.

This title is probably best suited to undemanding ten and 11-year-olds rather than anyone who expects to be treated intelligently. Unfortunately, it takes a while to get used to the two plots going on and it is too tempting to reach for something else - even the author's King of Shadows - as this is hard work keeping up with events and characters' names. The most unpalatable part is the unattractive heroine of the piece who needs to get a grip and stop indulging in self-pity.
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Format: Hardcover
I feel sorry for "a reader", who appears to have completely missed the connection between Sam and Molly (her stepfather, with help, established that Sam was Molly's great-great-great-several times grandfather !). The reason Molly doesn't sell the piece of Nelson's flag that Sam left with his daughter and which then passed on to her, has nothing to do with her implied wealth, and everything to do with remembrance and memorialisation of the dead. Molly's father was killed when his plane went down over the sea - there was no body to recover for a funeral, so her mother held a memorial service which Molly was too young to appreciate. Sam didn't return from his final trip at sea either, so there would not have been a funeral service for him as there was for Admiral Nelson. Molly's act of putting the piece of flag into the sea was an act of remembrance for both her father and her distant ancestor, Sam. The book makes this quite clear when someone explains to Molly how men who are killed at sea are sewn into their hammocks and the remains are slipped into the sea.

As for Molly being a spoilt brat, perhaps "A reader" has never been severely homesick - in which case, they're very, very lucky - but Molly is young and has been uprooted from the home she loved and the only life she remembers, to go and live in a strange country. They may speak English over in the US, but it is still a foreign country, with different customs and habits from Britain.

Susan Cooper has done an excellent job of portraying the dizzying confusion of being uprooted from one's home, something that both Sam and Molly feel, and being transported to an entirely different lifestyle. The connections between the two children are established slowly and surely, and work very effectively.
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Format: Hardcover
As a primary teacher (Yr 5), I've come to really enjoy Susan Cooper's work, and this one is no exception: a great story told in an engagingly straightforward manner that draws you in rapidly and certainly made me care for the two main characters: Molly is a 21st century English girl living in America and desperately homesick; Sam is a poor 19th century farm boy whose life is dramatically changed when his uncle, who works in the Chatham Dockyards, offers to take Sam to live with him. The two stories interweave throughout, building to the climax of the Battle of Trafalgar.

I read this book in two sittings, and wanted to do so in one! To my mind, Cooper very successfully tells the story from the perspective of the two youngsters, and leaves you rooting for both of them. To this end, I have to totally agree with Michele and disagree with 'a reader', whose review seemed to show a complete misunderstanding of both the book and the mind of almost every 9-11 year old child I've ever worked with. It's not amongst the very best (I don't give 5 stars lightly!), but certainly high on my list of 'very good' reads.

All in all, I'd thoroughly recommend this book, both as a genuinely enjoyable read (handleable by reasonably literate Year 5/10 year old and up) and as an historical primer to life on board an early 19th century ship. It's certainly on my shortlist of books to be read to my class.

Be warned though - the 2 earlier reviews on this book do discuss and reveal the plot of the end of the story. This isn't a complete spoiler - the book is better than just that - but would have certainly marred my enjoyment of the book if I'd read them beforehand.
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Format: Paperback
Molly is an English girl starting a new life in modern day America. Sam is an 11 year old country boy who is pressed into service upon HMS Victory at the turn of the 19th century. Two threads of a story that drift together when Molly finds a very special book in a second hand bookshop one wet day.

In the course of the book the reader is transported back to the Battle of Trafalgar. An enjoyable read with plenty of good historical detail and a mystery to resolve itself.

I am so glad that Susan Cooper is writing books again. I think I have read everything she has written, and every book is enjoyable and of a high standard. This book is no exception, and this is as ever a good young adult book.

But, in fact, when reading into this period of history, I would rater Powder Monkey by Paul Dowswell a little more highly. There is even more historical detail in that book, and the story was every bit as good. If you want to read just one book about life aboard a ship in Nelson's day, read "Powder Monkey". But if you want to read a very good story, this one is worth it too.
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