Victory

Victory

4.0 9
by Susan Cooper
     
 

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A historic connection has the power to change the future in this classic, gripping novel from Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper.

Sam Robbins is a farm boy, kidnapped to serve on HMS Victory, the ship on which Lord Nelson will die a hero’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Molly Jennings is a twenty-first-century English girl who’s

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Overview

A historic connection has the power to change the future in this classic, gripping novel from Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper.

Sam Robbins is a farm boy, kidnapped to serve on HMS Victory, the ship on which Lord Nelson will die a hero’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Molly Jennings is a twenty-first-century English girl who’s been transplanted to the United States by her stepfather’s job and is fighting her own battle against loss and loneliness.

Two different lives, two centuries apart, are linked by a tiny scrap of fraying cloth that’s tucked into an old book. It draws Molly into Sam’s world, to a moment in time that changed history—a frightening shared moment that holds the key both to secrets from the past and hope for the future.

Editorial Reviews

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.”
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

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"[A] riveting independent read."
Booklist
“A vivid historical tale within the framework of a compelling modern story.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442480803
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
08/27/2013
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
888,637
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(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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