You can count on Chris Priestley to deliver chills and scares which, although aimed at the children's market, aren't watered down. This is a reworking of Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', and from the start, with the first person narrative (in the form of the nephew of the man fated to shoot the albatross) describing the boy's mysterious uncle and the lure of the sea felt by both the boy and his uncle, the atmosphere is one of creeping doubt and danger.
Priestley does a fantastic job of setting the scene and drawing the reader in slowly and surely. By the time the albatross meets its fate and the sailors begin to feel the full horror of the apparent curse upon them, the reader is fully engrossed in their nightmarish surroundings and events. The characters are well written, the tension and chills kept up throughout, and this will make a satisfying read for anyone who likes their stories dark and spine-tingling. It might well lead young readers to take a look at Coleridge's original masterpiece too.
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