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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on 15 December 2014
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on 14 August 2015
Highly recommended for any reluctant reader :)
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 25 February 2015
I very much enjoyed the first two books in this series and was curious to see if this third volume was as enjoyable as its predecessors. I am happy to report that the series has lost none of its charm and ripping thrills.

In the first volume of this series we met Stanley Buggles, who is a smart, courageous, inquisitive, and clever young hero. The setting, the isolated island of Crampton Rock, is just right, with lots of odd residents and hidden secrets. The supporting characters are sometimes cranky and mysterious, but, (like Mrs. Carelli the housekeeper), can also be warm and supportive in caring for Stanley. Stanley now has a friend in town, spirited, stout-hearted and reliable Daisy. She participates extensively in all of the adventures, and is a perfect balance to and companion for Stanley

The plot of the first book, which then arcs through the whole series, involves Stanley's great-uncle Admiral Bartholomew Swift, (from whom Stanley inherited Candlestick Hall, the Crampton Rock mansion), and a valuable amulet that was hidden by great-uncle Bartholomew. Dastardly villains, mostly in the form of pirates, want the amulet and presumably the treasure to which it points. Inconveniently, great-uncle Bartholomew is long gone, even in ghostly form, and so Stanley and Daisy are on their own, except for the help they receive from the mounted, ornery, talking stuffed pike in that glass case on the wall.

Each book seems to involve a further step or two toward locating the treasure, and each is a distinct episode in the ongoing battle between Stanley and the baddies to get to it first. In the first book we had three real shopworn pirates; the second book featured two scary ghost pirates. In this book, we have legions of resurrected ghostly pirates closing in on Crampton Rock .

This is a quirky sort of book in that distinctive English kids' book way. The hero has a bit of that poor with the right stuff vibe. There are odd bits of magic that drift around the story. (For example, the talking stuffed fish.) The villains are very villainous and menacing, as though English authors know and believe that even quite young kid readers can tolerate a little more dangerous thrill than they are given credit for. The atmosphere of the settings is appropriately threatening and gloomy

The overall effect is jaunty but shot through with dread. By that I mean the weather is gloomy, there are threatening ghostly figures, there is menace and the hero often finds himself in tight spots. Yet there is always a sense that good will win out and that pluck will be rewarded. As one consequence of this mixture you get a lot of what would pass as middle grade black humor, and there is occasionally a truly arresting moment of daring action or laugh out loud humor. The book just zips along, and the author's assured light touch guarantees that even a young reader would be unlikely to be too unnerved by the ghostly pirate hijinks.

The upshot is that these books are cheerfully wicked and definitely weird, but in a solid, good-humored sort of way. This book seems up to the challenge of filling that fourth grade to sixth grade gap, where readers are beyond chapter books but maybe not up to full middle grade speed. A nice find.

Please note that I got this book from the library. I received no freebies and have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on 16 June 2012
I borrowed this book from my son when we were on holiday, having run out of adult books to read and I absolutely loved it. It was better than all the other books I read on holiday. Perhaps that just shows I'm a kid at heart? I now have to go back to read the others in the series, can't wait!
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on 29 May 2010
Superb descriptive language captures the imagination quickly. The series is filled with pirates, ghosts, werewolves & curses although you may think these books are just for boys my daughter loves them she reads them on the school bus, before bed & at any other chance she gets. Really worth buying but I would suggest you buy the set of 6 books though
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on 16 June 2012
Another amazing work of fiction from the fantastic Mr Mould. The quality of the story is matched only by the beautiful illustrations. Wonderful stuff!
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