Cannibals: The Curse of the Jolly Stone Trilogy

Cannibals: The Curse of the Jolly Stone Trilogy

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by Iain Lawrence

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As Tom Tin nears Australia, where he’s to serve a lengthy sentence for a murder he didn’t commit, he and his fellow convict, Midgely, plot their escape. No matter that the ship carrying them and the other juvenile criminals is captained by Tom’s father. Tom knows his father can’t help him clear his name and regain his freedom–not as long…  See more details below


As Tom Tin nears Australia, where he’s to serve a lengthy sentence for a murder he didn’t commit, he and his fellow convict, Midgely, plot their escape. No matter that the ship carrying them and the other juvenile criminals is captained by Tom’s father. Tom knows his father can’t help him clear his name and regain his freedom–not as long as Mr. Goodfellow, a man who wants the ruin of the Tin family, wields power back in London. So Tom and Midgely decide to go overboard! So do other boys who seize their chance at liberty–boys who aren’t so innocent, and who have it in for Tom.
To make things worse, the islands in the Pacific look inviting, but Tom remembers his father’s warnings: headhunters and cannibals lurk there! The boys go anyway. And as conflict among them mounts, as they encounter the very dangers Captain Tin spoke of, Tom must fight to keep himself and Midgely alive.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Beginning where Lawrence's The Convicts left off, this dark sequel continues the saga of Tom Tin, a 19th-century British lad, who was mistaken for his criminal twin and unjustly imprisoned. As the novel opens he is still on the convict ship (captained by his father, who had been sentenced to debtor's prison) headed to the penal colonies in Australia. During a fierce storm, Tom and six other prisoners abandon ship and steal its longboat. Their boat crashes onto an island inhabited by a mysterious Mr. Mullock, who claims to be a lord but looks more like a castaway, and whom Tom thinks might be a murderer. The tensions established among the boys in the first book add drama to the events here. After making repairs on the boat, the boys and Mr. Mullock, cast off just in time to avoid a tribe of headhunters aimed for the island. Tom and his crew (which dwindles in number as the novel progresses) engage in a game of cat and mouse, island-hopping to stay one step ahead of the savages. Although not quite as alluring or insightful as its prequel, this book still offers a Robert Louis Stevenson brand of excitement that will draw fans of exotic adventure tales. The book's open ending will leave readers pondering the fates of the main characters and anticipating another installment of Tom's adventures. Ages 12-14. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
We first met young Tom in The Convicts, set in 19th-century London, where he finds and then loses a cursed diamond, and ends up accused of murder and on a prison ship heading for Australia. In this volume, Tom and his little friend Midgely manage to escape from the ship, and encounter cannibals, crocodiles, pirates and more in their struggle to make it to an elephant-shaped island where Tom and his father hope to be reunited. Nasty fellow convicts, a mysterious and possibly murderous man Tom and Midgely meet and travel with, and a gigantic snake are only some of the trials they must endure in this thrilling, action-packed adventure tale. This deliberately old-fashioned story by the author of The High Seas Trilogy and other YA novels has some basis in fact; an author's note at the end describes the history of the convict ships to Australia and a famous escape. Reviewers of The Convicts called it "Dickensian"; The Cannibals may remind some of Stevenson's Treasure Island as well. It's stuffed full of storms at sea, wild and awful events and memorable characters, though some readers may object to the many references to "savages" and "junglies" who stalk Tom and his friends. With chapter headings like "I Hear a Dead Man's Tale" and "Attacked by Headhunters," and of course its title, readers will be eagerly turning the pages of this gruesome and enthralling tale. It can stand on its own, for those who haven't read the prequel. (Sequel to The Convicts). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, Delacorte, 224p., and Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Readers in search of swashbuckling adventure, gripping plot twists, and hair-raising encounters will gravitate to this sequel to The Convicts (Delacorte, 2005). Set on the high seas during the 1820s, the story follows the adventures of Tom Tin and a handful of very bad and not-so-bad boys who are being transported from London to Australia to serve out their prison terms. The first of many outrageous coincidences is that, while Tom is a prisoner below decks, his own father is at the helm. But the hapless captain, who is being persecuted by the sinister, offstage Mr. Goodfellow, can't do much to help. Tom and his blind friend, Midgely, decide that they must escape and return to England to dig up the jewel that Tom has hidden. Unfortunately, a gang of cruel and vengeful boys comes with them. Every turn of the plot becomes more far-fetched as the boys encounter an Alexander Selkirk-like castaway, a missionary's daughter (beautiful, of course), Komodo dragons, and the cannibals. The mood is as much fantastic as it is Dickensian. There is a hard edge to the violence, but there are moments of humor and caring as well. Readers are well set up for a planned third book. A well-researched author's note gives a short history of convict transport to Australia and recounts the true story of Mary Bryant who, with 10 others, fled in a small boat from Botany Bay to Timor, a distance of over 3000 miles. In that context, Tom Tin's adventures seem a shade more plausible.-Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this sequel to The Convicts (April, 2005) a tangled fate has made Tom Tin's father his jailer on a ship heading to Australia, where Tom will serve a lengthy prison term for a murder he didn't commit. However, Tom and his friend Midge escape, ignoring warnings about headhunters, cannibals and pirates. And sure enough, they are soon in quite a stew, with everything predicted and more coming true. Fire-breathing monsters, headless corpses, gigantic snakes, a mysterious woman and islands full of cannibals make this high-spirited, old-fashioned adventure tale, complete with cliffhanger chapter endings, a treat. Lawrence's prose, as always, is beautifully wrought, with some of the most exciting scenes anywhere in children's literature. In the midst of so many dangers, Tom learns an important lesson about life: "Our time's measured in minutes, so live large." At times intense and gruesome, this is best for older readers. (author's note) (Fiction. 12-14)
From the Publisher
"Fire-breathing monsters, headless corpses, gigantic snakes, a mysterious woman, and islands full of cannibals make this high-spirited, old-fashioned adventure tale, complete with cliffhanger chapter endings, a treat."—Kirkus Reviews

"Offers a Robert Louis Stevenson brand of excitement that will draw fans of exotic adventure tales."—Publishers Weekly

"Readers in search of swashbuckling adventure, gripping plot twists, and hair-raising encounters will gravitate to this sequel to The Convicts."—School Library Journal

"Lawrence keeps the reader on edge."—The Horn Book Magazine

"Excellent writing. . . . The action comes at breakneck speed."—VOYA

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Curse of the Jolly Stone Trilogy , #2
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

beyond the cape of storms

I came to know my father as we voyaged to Australia. At first he seemed a different man, his face sun burnt and bright, wrinkled round the eyes into a never-ending smile. Gone was his weariness, and years from his age. But he hadn't really changed; I had only forgotten. Along with his sea clothes, he had donned his old self, becoming again the man I had known as a child.

I grew to love him as I had then, and saw my love returned, though not the way I wanted. Father could see that my time in the prison hulk had left me pale and thin, but not that I was stronger on the inside because of it. So he vowed to keep me safe, and cared so deeply for me that it proved our undoing in the end.

Five months out of England, we rounded the Cape of Good Hope. We stormed around it, in furious winds and tumbling cliffs of water. But I saw nothing but a patch of sky, a glimpse of sails through the ragged holes in an old tarpaulin.

A tangled fate had made my father my jailer, and now he was sailing me beyond the seas, in a ship that had been a slaver. He was the captain and I was a convict.

With sixty others I was penned below, in the dark and shuddering hull of the ship. The wind howled and tore at the tarpaulin that covered the hatch. Whole waves exploded through the grating, and for every drop of water that rained through the deck seams, a bucket's load welled up through the timbers.

I found that I had not beaten my old fear of the sea. For nine days running I lay sick as a dog on my wooden berth, almost wishing for the ship to founder, yet terrified that it might. I clung to the ringbolts where the slaves had been chained, listening to the ocean batter at the planks. If it weren't for Midgely I might have gone as mad as my poor mother. He was young and small, blinded in both eyes. But he stayed at my side, little Midge.

When the Cape was behind us, the weather cleared. The hatches were opened, and up we went to a sunlit morning.

My father was too kindhearted to be a jailer. Perhaps his spell in debtors' prison had taught him the misery of confinement. He always gave us the run of the deck on fair-weather days. He'd let the crew indulge us with seafaring stories, and from time to time he had the fiddler play while we danced. Our prison wasn't the ship, but the sea itself.

On this day we milled like cattle in the small space between the masts. Sailors were tightening the lashings on the piles of planks and timbers. Others worked high in the rigging, but it made me dizzy to turn up my head to watch them. Every sail was set, the brig pushing along below its towers of canvas. The air was hot. Water steamed from the deck and the sails and the rigging.

A sailor came for Midge and me. We were hurried off, up to the afterdeck and down to the cabins. My father was waiting below, standing by his broad windows that looked back where the ship had been. Our silvery wake stretched over the waves like the trail of a slug.

"Good morning, Captain Tin," cried Midgely.

Father turned to greet us, a great smile on his face. "Good morning, William," he said. He was the only one to call Midgely by his proper name. His hand fell upon my shoulder. "Are you bearing up, Tom?" he asked.

I nodded.

"You've weathered the storm, I see."

"Oh, yes, sir," said Midge. "It was a ripping storm, weren't it?"

Father smiled. "Sit, boys," he said, waving us toward his berth.

I took Midgely's hand to guide him to our place. He could hardly see at all, and never when he went from sunshine into shadows. But he pulled away, and went straight to my father's berth, dodging the table and dodging the chair. He'd learned the cabin well in the dozen visits we'd made. When I climbed beside him on the bed, it seemed the height of luxury to sit on a mattress again.

"What would you like?" asked Father. "Cheese? Bread and jam?" He always offered, and we always refused.

I went straight to the point. "Father, we have a plan," I said.

He stood with his hands behind his back. The sea tilted and slashed across his windows, and he leaned from side to side against the roll of the ship. The motions made my stomach churn.

"We want to escape," I said.

Father looked surprised. His mouth, for a moment, gaped open. Then a hearty laugh came out. "Escape?" he asked. His hand motioned toward the huge sea. "To where?"
Midgely answered. "To a place near Tetakari Island, sir."

"Where the devil's that?"

"South and east of Borneo," said Midge. "But not as far as Java."

My father frowned. He crossed the cabin to his table, then reached up to the rafters. His charts were stowed there, rolled into tubes, and he talked as he sorted through them. "I've never heard of such a place," he said.

"Well, there's an island near it what looks like an elephant," said Midge. "The cliffs and the trees, they look like the elephant's head. There's a sandy beach, and coconuts and breadfruit. It was in the book. Ask Tom, sir. Ask him if it ain't true."

Father picked through his charts. "Well, books are travelers' tales, you know. The writers fill them with nonsense."

"But this one was wrote by a reverend, sir," said Midge.

My father smiled back at him. Like every sailor on the brig, he adored little Midge. My friend might have been the ship's cat for all the pats and treats that came his way. "Let's have a look at your elephant island," he said.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Cannibals: The Curse of the Jolly Stone Trilogy 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wej206 More than 1 year ago
I though that this book was very good. It was one of the most exciting and interesting books I have ever read. I didn't like the part where Mr. Mullock gets swallowed by the huge snake and h survives it. I didn't like it because it was not realistic one bit at all. The ending was very interesting and not left open-ended because Tom's dad is killed and the rest of them escape the island. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a book with action, adventure, and excitement.