- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Children's LiteratureThe year is 1587, and young Thomas Spyre finds himself in a most enviable position. Already apprenticed to Master William, a fine man and excellent surgeon, he is asked to come along on Sir Francis Drake's daring voyage to plunder the Spanish coast. There is a catch, however: the queen's supporters don't trust Drake to turn over all the loot, so Thomas and his William, must take oaths to serve as Admiralty spies. When William is killed in an accident, Thomas finds himself the sole medical relief for the ship's crew. Cadnum has a wonderful way of seamlessly invoking historical details in the most natural manner. Describing life along the Thames, Thomas remarks, "The current was calmer here, the city a haphazard collection of candlelit windows and half-closed shutters, a scattering of cheerful lamps and embers as the smiths and brewers banked their fires, and through wide-flung shutters we could see wealthy folk lighting tapers to see their way up stairwells, their quaking shadows preceding them. The bank was marbled where slaughterhouses poured fat and blood down their gutters, and the heavy current foamed yellow where a brewery gushed dregs." Sixteenth century England roars to life in the first half of the book. Violence and adventure on the high seas inhabit the latter half. Put the halves together and you have a rip-roaring historical adventure. 2003, Viking/Penguin, Ages 10 to 14.
— Christopher Moning