Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005 (Vol. 73, No. 12)) Freely imitating (as is his wont) classic tales-particularly, in this case, the nautical fiction of C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian-Malloy fashions a quick-paced historical doorstopper that sends a British spy, a brilliant young midshipman and a beautiful American heiress crisscrossing the Atlantic. To refill his treasury and take firmer hold of his American possessions, Napoleon has struck a deal with Count Vallon, a fabulously wealthy and utterly psychotic pirate king. It's up to secret agent Paul Beaumont and his quick-study new protTgT Peter not only to foil the plot, but also to spring Lucy Cosgrove, a socialite more comfortable with a long rifle in her hands than a fan, from the clutches of Vallon, who has whisked her away to his hidden Caribbean fortress. Backed by a supporting cast of familiar types, many many of whom die in often-brutal ways, the three meet, part and meet again on the way to a properly melodramatic climax. Replete with colorful characters, the good ones clearly separated from the evil, plus full measures of danger, intrigue and romance, this seagoing epic is tailor-made for beach reading. Billed as first of a series. 2005, Chicken House/Scholastic, 512p, $16.95. Category: Fiction. Ages 11 to 13. © 2005 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
MOLLOY, Michael. Peter Raven Under Fire. 502p. Scholastic/The Chicken House. 2005. Tr $17.95. ISBN 0-439-72454-6. LC number unavailable.
Gr 5-8This is a thoroughly researched and exciting tale of war, piracy, and intrigue. In 1800, continuous war has depleted France's treasury, but Napoleon still wants to expand his empire. To this end, he needs money to defeat the superior British Navy and to exploit Louisiana for the greatest gain. In England, midshipman Peter Raven, 13, is assigned to HMS Torren. When powerful, sadistic pirates murder everyone on the ship except Peter and jack-of-all-trades Matthew Book, the protagonist finds himself apprenticed to a British spy, Commodore Beaumont. Together, these three outwit politicians and outfight pirates. Fast paced with multiple plot twists, the story sails from the English Channel to Paris to the Caribbean and back. Molloy's writing is intelligent and engaging, allowing readers to experience one part of the struggle for political and economic control of the Americas. This long book, which promises to be the first in a series, is indeed an epic. It would be best for deeper collections, or where high-seas adventure and historical fiction are popular.Christina Stenson-Carey, Albany Public Library, NY
Molloy, Michael. Peter Raven under Fire. 2005. 512p. Scholastic/Chicken House, $16.95 (0-439-72454-6).
Gr. 69. It's Portsmouth, England, 1800, and 13-year-old Peter Raven boards the Dolphin as a midshipman. In Paris, General Ancre, head of France's secret service, meets with Napoleon and is sent as an envoy to the extremely wealthy, appallingly sadistic, and quite mad Count Vallon on his Caribbean island. In the backwoods of the Hudson Valley, Lucy Cosgrove, a beautiful, rich young American who has just run away from her school in New York, learns that she must put aside her aspirations to attend Princeton, as she is being sent to Europe. These characters and many others converge on Paris, where the plot thickens and roils, complicated by deception. Both Peter and Lucy's storiesalong with those of the adultsplay out on a very broad stage of international intrigue. Molloy's evident (sometimes too evident) research contributes to the convincing portrayal of the period setting. A long, heroic seafaring adventure. Carolyn Phelan
Peter Raven Under Fire by Michael Molloy
England has been fighting France for seven years when Peter Raven joins the Royal British Navy in 1800. Soon the young midshipman finds himself at the center of an operation t