Eternal castaways Ben and his canine companion, Ned, continue their breathless adventures. After being adrift on the Mediterranean Sea, they are rescued, but their apparent good luck quickly goes bad as Ned is thrown overboard and Ben slips under the control of a slave lord. Young man and dog are eventually reunited, setting the stage for their exciting escape. Sympathetic characters; adroitly handled plot shifts.
Children's Literature - Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
This third title, a part of the "Flying Dutchmen" series, joins Ben and his dog Ned on more thrilling adventures. Although they escaped from the evil captain of the Flying Dutchman, Ben and Ned are cursed to remain the same age forever. To hide this from the world, they must be constantly on the move so no one will guess their secret. As the story begins, Ben and Ned have become separated and both fear the worst. They are eventually reunited but their troubles are far from over. Through special powers Ben is able to communicate with Ned, and Ned is able to understand the words of other humans and relay these to Ben. This helps them escape but is not always enough to ensure their safety. When Al Misurata plots against the pair, Ned and Ben must rely on their wits and good luck. Will they be able to escape the ship and remain hidden? And how can they ever overcome the fear and troubles that always follows visions of their old nemesis, the Flying Dutchmen, and her crew? Intended for readers of the series; due to limited explanation of ongoing characters and past events.
VOYA - Sherry Korthals
Jacques again delivers an animated high-seas adventure in this third book of the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. As in preceding titles, Ben and his Labrador, Ned, are destined to roam the world aiding others, while awaiting guidance from the angel who cast them from the Flying Dutchman before dooming that ship to eternally sail the seas. Adrift on the Mediterranean in 1703, the boy and his dog are separated when Ben is captured by Barbary Coast slavers. The two are eventually reunited at the stronghold of Al Misurata, Africa's most ruthless slave trader, and their perils intensify when Ben falls in love with the beautiful chanteuse of Troupe Rizzoli, a group of traveling entertainers whom Misurata plans to enslave. Ben and Ned then face mounting danger as they battle corsairs and wreckers to rescue Serafina and the troupe from bondage. A whimsical fusion of legend and fictionalized history, this novel will not disappoint series readers, although Ben and Ned's invariable friendship may leave them hoping for growth in forthcoming installments. The duo's exploits are easily charted on the provided map, and steadily paced action maintains interest. Ben's relationship with Serafina is underdeveloped, but an unexpected plot twist portends her return in future adventures. Roguish heroes, buffoonish villains, comic dialogue, and Jacques's assurance that good unfailingly triumphs over evil ensure broad appeal among fantasy, adventure, and general middle-level readers. Multiple-copy purchase is recommended to meet anticipated demand. Many typographical and grammatical errors, should they not be corrected in finished copy, might lower the Q rating.
Brian Jacques takes a vacation at sea from his Redwall series (only one talking animal!) in this third book in the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. Ben and his faithful dog Ned have escaped the Flying Dutchman, due to the purity of their souls, but have not escaped the curse of immortality and are still at the command of the Angel of God who rescued them. Here they are "rescued" from the ocean, only to be captured by slavers. They are aided in their escape attempts by a traveling circus, a former pirate and a group of smugglers, all with their own strengths and talents. The bad guys are very bad, the good guys are very good and it all adds up to a rollicking adventure on land and sea. Essential for libraries with the first two books, but it works as a stand-alone as well. For all collections. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Penguin, Philomel, 384p., $23.99.. Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Having escaped from the Flying Dutchman and its odious Captain Vanderdecken, Ben and his dog, Ned, are cursed to wander the Earth for eternity, never growing older. In this third account of their adventures, the castaways are again shipwrecked and separated. Ben is captured by the slave trader Al Misurata, while Ned is rescued by a company of itinerant entertainers. The two are reunited when the entertainers, the Rizzoli Troupe, are forced to perform for the trader, and all of them end up on Al Misurata's ship to be sold as slaves. Ned speaks to Ben telepathically, and since no one would expect a dog to understand human language, he overhears the villain's plans. This is just the beginning of the swashbuckling adventure as Ben and his black Labrador attempt to escape the ship and to rescue the Rizzoli Troupe, while, at the same time, avoiding recapture by the ghostly sailors of the Flying Dutchman. Numerous footnotes translate various snatches of dialogue in German or Italian. This can be either helpful or annoying, depending on your way of looking at it. However, it is easy to just enjoy the compelling and readable adventure. This book is a good choice for any library in which Jacques's books in general and the "Castaways" stories in particular are popular.-Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Praise for Brian Jacques
"Jacques's fervent followers are rewarded with the author's usual swashbuckling good storytelling, while the newly initiated will read with wide eyes, and quickly go back to hungrily devour the rest of the series."Amazon.com on Triss
"Scrumptious feasts, rollicking humor, swashbuckling heroes, faithful friends, and treacherous villains magically combine through three intertwined action-packed plots into one unforgettable, spellbinding story." VOYA on Triss
"Almost nonstop action."School Library Journal on The Angel's Command