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In this sequel to Powder Monkey (2005) and Prison Ship (2006, both Bloomsbury), Sam and his friend Richard have a rocky voyage from Australia back to England on a merchant ship. Meanwhile England is at war with France, and the British navy is sending out press gangs to "recruit" sailors. When Sam is in London, he barely escapes a gang and decides to accept Viscount Neville's offer to purchase him a post in the navy as an officer. He is on the same ship as Admiral Lord Nelson and fights with him in the legendary Battle of Trafalgar. Sam's sailing story starts slowly, taking several chapters for the wind to come into the plot sails. Even then, it feels more like a choppy travelogue than an adventure story. One can only wish that Sam mused less about what he should and should not do. Dowswell, however, does give a wealth of historical detail about 19th-century sailing without detracting too much from the plot. The author is at his best describing the Battle of Trafalgar and the funeral of Admiral Lord Nelson, which he based on eyewitness accounts. Fans of the series will be interested in this new segment of Sam's life, and teens interested in sailing stories may be willing to swim through it as well.-Samantha Larsen Hastings, West Jordan Public Library, UT
Posted December 1, 2012
Posted February 14, 2014
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