Victory

Victory

4.0 9
by Susan Cooper
     
 

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Two Children,

Two Struggles,

One Battle...

One child is Sam Robbins, a powder monkey aboard HMS Victory, the ship in which Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson will die a hero's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The other is Molly Jennings, an English girl transplanted from London to the United States in 2006, fighting a battle

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Overview

Two Children,

Two Struggles,

One Battle...

One child is Sam Robbins, a powder monkey aboard HMS Victory, the ship in which Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson will die a hero's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The other is Molly Jennings, an English girl transplanted from London to the United States in 2006, fighting a battle of her own against loss and loneliness.

This extraordinary time-shifting adventure tells the interwoven stories of Sam and Molly, linked by a mystery. Sam is a farm boy, kidnapped at eleven years old by the "press gang" to serve in the Royal Navy. At first terrified and seasick, Sam is transformed gradually into a sailor. In the rowdy, dangerous world of a hundred-gun warship enduring the Napoleonic Wars, he meets both cruelty and kindness, and survives a fearsome battle whose echoes reach through the years to involve Molly as well. Like Sam, Molly has lost her childhood but will find her future, with help from a very unexpected source.

Separate yet together, Sam Robbins and Molly Jennings struggle through fear and excitement to a final ordeal that terrifyingly tests their courage. And the moving climax of the book shows two lives joined forever by the touch of Nelson, one of the greatest sailors of all time.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"[A] riveting independent read."
Publishers Weekly
In alternating chapters, Newbery Medalist Cooper (The Dark Is Rising) tells the stories of 11-year-old Molly, a contemporary homesick Londoner transplanted to the U.S. because of her mother's remarriage, and Sam, also 11, a 19th-century ship's boy aboard the HMS Victory. Sam also has a new home he's been pressed into service by the Royal Navy and assigned to kitchen duties on Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson's battleship. Initially, the connection between these two children, disparate in time, circumstance and locale, seems tenuous tied only by a biography of Nelson that Molly buys from a bookstore. But when Molly finds a historical artifact hidden inside the book, she begins having strange visions about Sam, his ship and the brutal sea battles of the Napoleonic Wars. These images resurrect lost memories of her late father, whose plane plunged into the Atlantic years earlier. Cooper tells Molly's story in present-tense, third-person narration, then switches to past-tense, first-person for Sam's chapters, a stylistic choice that makes the stories distinct but the shift between them jarring. While Molly's upheaval is emotionally rendered, Sam's tale bogs down in period detail about the workaday grind of seamanship. The resolution relies on an improbable coincidence to bring the two stories together, but provides a hopeful future for Molly. Ages 9-12. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This historical fiction story of change, homesickness, and danger at sea is not nearly as depressing as that description sounds. A mysterious element of connections across space and time makes it almost the younger cousin to the Griffin and Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock. Molly Jennings and Sam Robbins are both 11 year olds who were forced to leave their homes and adapt to drastically different, and frequently trying, surroundings. But Sam served on board the HMS Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and Molly is an English girl now living with her blended family in Connecticut in 2006. The link between them is Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, whom Sam served under and Molly reads about in an old book that seems to choose her as its owner. The rich historical details give us a vivid sense of what life was like at sea during wartime in the early 1800s, but some readers may find these long passages a bit slow and occasionally graphic. Overall, this unique and ambitious approach to interweaving past and present is a fascinating read that keeps you guessing and wanting to know more. 2006, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, Ages 9 to 12.
—Ginjer L. Clarke
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Modern-day Molly, 11, understands that her family had to move from Connecticut to London because of her stepfather's job, but she's still achingly homesick. Sam, also 11, lives in England in 1803, until he's forced into several years' service on the H.M.S. Victory under Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson. The boy eventually grows to enjoy many things about life in "this small city of people in one floating wooden frame." Molly finds a scrap of the Victory's flag tucked into an old book about Nelson and begins to experience bits of Sam's memories. The children's stories alternate as Sam's memories help Molly come to terms with the loss of her childhood home and the death, years earlier, of her father. The mystery behind the flag and Molly's "haunting" by Sam drive the girl's narrative, while a prologue hinting at Sam's participation in the great Battle of Trafalgar propels his along to climactic scenes of the battle itself. His descriptions of 1800s naval warfare are both fascinating (the technology) and horrible (the stench, earsplitting noise, and the utter carnage of cannonballs hitting ships full of unarmored men and boys). Hesitant, loving efforts by Molly's family to help her cope with her unhappiness and Nelson's small kindnesses to Sam bring secondary characters to life. They also advance the parallel emotional stories underlying the novel about the difficulty of leaving a beloved place and the way new connections help a strange environment become home.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a blend of history and time travel, blood ties connect a girl in August 2006 with Sam Robbins, ship's boy aboard the British battleship Victory two centuries before. Molly (11), struggling to acclimate to a blended family and move from London to Connecticut, buys an old copy of Southey's The Life of Nelson. In it she finds a secreted inscription and Sam's tiny remnant of the Victory's flag, flown during the Battle of Trafalgar. The narrative shifts between Molly's second-person present passages (laced with mysterious leaks-via unremembered dreams and waking visions-of life aboard the Victory) and Sam's vivid, first-person past recounting of pressed service-as virtual galley slave, then cannon crew "powder monkey"-during the Napoleonic War. On a quick visit "home" before school's start, touring the restored Victory at Portsmouth with Granddad, Molly's prescience sharpens, mirroring Sam's experiences. She goes missing for four hours, curled unconscious in an interior cabin, seemingly witnessing the hellish Battle of Trafalgar and the mortal wounding of beloved Vice-Admiral Nelson. In the U.S., Molly commits Sam's bit of flag to a sea burial, tying up this compelling, tautly rigged tale. (author's note, glossary) (Fiction. 9-13)
From the Publisher
"A vivid historical tale within the framework of a compelling modern story." - Booklist, starred review

"[A] compelling, tautly rigged tale." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Booklist
“A vivid historical tale within the framework of a compelling modern story.”
BCCB
“A riveting independent read.”
The Horn Book
“Cooper’s deep, organic interweaving of themes of memory and heritage, dream and bereavement, and her persistent imagery of the sea and sailing make this a powerful, demanding novel…It rewards rereading and reminds us that in historical fiction, ordinary words, intently arranged and deliberately paced, can offer an intense vision and emotional transport that constitute a voyage of their own.”
The Washington Post
“Cooper, a Newbery medalist, has interwoven history and fantasy before…but nowhere, I think, has she done it more hauntingly or gracefully than in this loving tribute to Nelson....”
starred review Booklist
“A vivid historical tale within the framework of a compelling modern story.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442480797
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
08/27/2013
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,104,001
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A vivid historical tale within the framework of a compelling modern story." - Booklist, starred review

"[A] compelling, tautly rigged tale." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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