Captain Grey

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Young Kevin Cartwright is the prisoner of a pirate king.
"I shall find a way to get free."

"Free!" he shouted. "You are here, with us now. You can forget about your father and your sister, or anybody else you may have known. You belong to no nation but this nation. Put him back where he was and don't feed him. Tomorrow we shall talk again about freedom!"

Following the Revolution, an eleven-year-old boy becomes the captive of a ruthless man who has set up his own ...

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Young Kevin Cartwright is the prisoner of a pirate king.
"I shall find a way to get free."

"Free!" he shouted. "You are here, with us now. You can forget about your father and your sister, or anybody else you may have known. You belong to no nation but this nation. Put him back where he was and don't feed him. Tomorrow we shall talk again about freedom!"

Following the Revolution, an eleven-year-old boy becomes the captive of a ruthless man who has set up his own "nation," supported by piracy, on a remote part of the New Jersey coast.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380732449
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/26/1993
  • Edition description: 1ST HARPER
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.


Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Something of my early life and how I came to be captured.

My sister was born in the City of Philadelphia, as I was, she in the year 1770, I in 1772. She was named Cathleen, while I am called Kevin. Our mother having died when I was born, I do not remember her at all. Our father, a carpenter by trade, had fled Ireland for America carrying no tools but his hatred of the English, who, he said, "broke my heart, but never my soul."

When the War of Independence took firm hold on American patriots, our father, who knew no higher duty than to fight his ancient enemy, left my sister and me in the protection of our mother's cousin, a Mrs. Barry.

Mrs. Barry was a good woman; she housed us and taught us our letters. But being also a good woman of business, she was more concerned with her millinery shop than with her poor and always hungry relations. As a result, my sister and I, rejected by other children as riffraff, clung together and did mostly as we wished. This meant wandering off into the not distant forests where we played the hours away. Our pleasure, such as it was, was to live more like Indians than dwellers of the city, creating habits and skills that brought blessings, as you will see.

When the war was over, our father, whom we had not heard from or seen for seven years, came back to claim us. That it was our father there was no doubt, though it was he more in body than in mind. For seven years he had fought for the cause of Liberty, but it had, at last, cost him his soul. Without reducing his enduring hatred of all things English, he informed the world that the English Parliament had its equal only in the halls ofAmerican government. "The snake in Eden," he proclaimed, "was but the first politician." He wished to have no more contacts with governments, or as it turned out, with any society.

Having so stated his mind and asserted his claim to us, he announced that we were to find peace in the southern wilderness of New Jersey. There was nothing my sister or I could do. Nor did the pleas, not overly forceful, by our mother's cousin, that a girl of thirteen

and a boy of eleven were not fit for such a living have much success. Our father, denouncing all tyrants save himself, made his word law.

So it came to be that in July of 1783, with nothing more than packs upon our backs, we boarded a ferry, and after crossing the Delaware, headed due east. Very quickly we were made small by the great green and quiet forests of southern New Jersey.

I do not know exactly how long we tramped, but it was for many days. Father, we had come to see, was completely mad. No sooner did he aim for one direction than he would change course and pursue yet another place. And while it is true that he led us, it was in reality my sister's Indian arts that allowed us to survive. Not that father noticed. His mind traveled other worlds. just where he was going we had not the slightest idea, other than his repeated hope that there existed a place without benefit of government. Such hopes led us directly into calamity.

My sister and I had made the camp at the bottom of a little dell. Having secured the site, caught some squirrels, gathered some food, and lighted a fire, we sat and watched father become progressively more removed from us. He did no more than sit and stir the thoughts within his head.

For three days we stayed in that place, wondering whether or not we were ever again going to meet with human company. The rising wisp of smoke from our little fire seemed the very unraveling of our lives. Indeed, my sister began to consider what could be done to save us. For one thing was clear: the man who called himself our father was leading us to destruction.

But on the third day, while my sister and I sat, as usual, at some distance from our father, speaking in low tones about what we should do, we heard the sudden loud report of a pistol, so close and so shattering of the silence to which we had grown accustomed that we were thrown into a state of frozen terror.

This was just as well, for in an instant we saw that we were surrounded by a group of men. To have come upon anyone in so deep a pocket of eternity as this would have been startling, but to encounter men such as these was horrifying, as if we had stumbled into the mouth of hell.

The men were bedecked in a mixture of uniforms such as I had never seen, costumes of every color, order, and nation, rather like a company of players in which every actor was performing in a different play. The gay colors of their dress contrasted with faces stamped with fierce anger; no light of love or kindness shone in any eye I saw. They were armed with swords, pistols, cutlasses, and muskets. If we had been an invading army, they could not have met us with greater force.

One man stood out in front of the gang. A man, as I came to know him, who went by the name of Captain Grey. He was their leader, but he was not a big man. Compared to the others he seemed almost small. Indeed, his thin, pale face gave him a wasted look; but the hatred emblazoned upon his eyes, unwavering and instantly understood, was aflame with life.

He wore breeches and boots of a simple cut, and he alone among the men wore a shirt of plain linen, which gave him a distinctive look. Clean shaven, hair neatly tied, he held a sword in his hand. Round his middle he had wrapped a sash into which he had placed two fine pistols. He rather struck me as a gentleman.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2003


    I thought it was a great book and ve ry suprising.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    Ok BoOk

    I thought that this book wasn't as interesting as some other books Avi has written. This book had a typical plot and was kind of corny. Over all, it was an ok book. :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2000

    Pretty Good Book

    This book was very good. It is a perfect book if you enjoy American History. ****4 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2000

    Ooooooo, ahhhhhh

    I couldn't stress this anymore, Read this! I'm just a middle schooler, but I have read this book 2 times. It's incredible! If you like old history, Thrill, and adventerous books, get this!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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