In this sequel to Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, young Ben and his faithful black Labrador, Ned, having escaped the ghostly ship's hellish curse but bound to wander the world for eternity lending a helping hand wherever needed, return for another spate of adventures. Once again, Jacques spins a rousing yarn that fairly bursts at the seams with exciting escapades, exotic locations, poems, shanties, treachery and derring-do as the heroes travel from the pirate-infested Caribbean to a cave awash with evil magic high in the Pyr n es. If Jacques piles it on a bit thick in what actually becomes two separate tales-one a sea voyage and the other an overland trek-the sheer storytelling vigor is hard to resist. The second half of the book proves especially enticing, when Ben and his dog, who communicate telepathically and whose affectionate sparring provides much of the book's spark, team up with a feisty gypsy girl and a young artist to save the long-lost son of a nobleman. As in all of Jacques's books, he conjures a colorful, fully realized world (particularly the gastronomic delights) and injects the pages with plenty of snappy repartee ("Cease cackling like a market goose, you old relic," the nobleman calls affectionately to his cook). Readers can once again take satisfaction in the fact that virtue is rewarded, evil-doers get their comeuppance and good triumphs over evil in Jacques's universe. All ages. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Ben and Ned, a Labrador, immortal refugees from the Flying Dutchman, must leave the Caribbean on the pirate ship La Petite Marie. They find themselves in the middle of a gripping sea chase, with two other pirate ships in pursuit. After many adventures at sea, Ben and Ned finally make it safely to France and begin a quest to find a nobleman's lost son. They meet Karay, a girl who uses keen observation to tell people's "fortunes" and Dominic, a very gifted artist. The four journey through the land, are captured by Gypsies, and free a man imprisoned in a bear suit. Alas, Ben and Ned can never stay in one place for long else their immortality is noticed and they must leave their good friends. This book is really two smaller, very different books. The first and second parts really have no relation to each other beyond the presence of Ben and Ned. They also have very different tones; the first a high-adventure sea story, the second a quest with more interesting characters. Part one might be a bit hard for someone unfamiliar with "sea lingo" to follow, but is exciting, nonetheless. Elliot's small black and white drawings sprinkled throughout the text add a unique flavor to this two-toned adventure story. 2003, Philomel,
Amie Rose Rotruck
This charming yet haunting story of a boy and his dog, fated by an angel to wander the earth for eternity doing good deeds for others, will appeal to any reader looking for the next step after Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Orchard, 1990/VOYA December 1990). Ben and Ned's plight is well detailed, entwining seemingly unconnected episodes into a single tale of their unending journey that will keep most teens interested. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Philomel, 372p,
Ali Daniels, Teen Reviewer
Gr 5 Up-This installment in the series is not Jacques at his best. It is 1628, and Ben and his dog, Ned, have been charged by an angel to wander the world helping people. To aid them, they have been given the ability to communicate telepathically. Early in the book they point out to a French buccaneer, Raphael Thuron, that the Spanish pirate with whom he is gambling is cheating. After that, the captain keeps them close, for luck, as his ship, La Petite Marie, races away from the Spanish ship as well as an English privateer. Their story ends, at least for now, on a beach with a priest who is conveniently the younger brother of the now dead Thuron. When Ben presents him with the pirate captain's ill-gotten gains, the priest's days of worry about his "children" and the parish are ended. Another adventure, set in the mountains, is sandwiched in between the tavern in Cartagena and the beach. With the exception of the English privateer, the characters lack a distinctive voice, and the constant and secret wisecracking between Ben and Ned gets a little annoying. In addition, Jacques, who is usually so good with setting a scene and putting readers right into it, fails to capture life on a ship. There are guest appearances by the Flying Dutchman to add a level of spookiness, and the plot is almost nonstop action, with lots of swordplay, an avalanche, and a shark attack. A book for fans of the first "Dutchman" title.-Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Buccaneers and privateers, Carib hunters with poisoned darts, killer sharks, fiends, angels, and insane Captain Vanderdecken of the ghost ship Flying Dutchman converge in this rousing second installment in Jacques's Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (2001). Ben and his faithful black Labrador, Ned, the only two to escape Captain Vanderdecken's doomed ship in the first volume of the series, return to sail with buccaneer Captain Raphael Thuron, the terror of the Caribbean. The immortal duo, who communicate telepathically, continue the mission of the Angel of the Lord: "to do good and help others wherever the need arose." After swashbuckling adventures in the Caribbean and the sinking of Thuron's La Petite Marie, Ben and Ned find their mission: go to France, rescue the nephew of Comte Vicente Bregon of Veron, and help Father Mattieu, Captain Thuron's younger brother. Rescuing Adamo means entering the clutches of evil Maguda Razan in her caves in the Spanish Pyrenees, and a new round of adventures begins. Joining Ben and Ned are Dominic, the legendary Facemaker of Sabada, and Karayna, gypsy singer and accomplished pickpocket. Labyrinthine passageways, hideous tortures, the cobra-like Maguda, avalanches, and the help of new friends make this a faster-paced read than its predecessor. Jacques's formula works well again. Readers always know who the good and bad guys are, and vivid language, larger-than-life characters, and multiple story lines yield a sprawling, epic tale. Anyone, young and old, who enjoys being immersed in big, romantic adventures, will love this series. Young readers hooked by Jacques's storytelling magic in Castways and the Redwall series are destined to be readers for life.May his readers be legion.
"Almost nonstop action."—School Libray Journal
"Fairly bursts at the seams with exciting escapades, exotic locations, poems, shanties, treachery and derring-do."—Publishers Weekly
"Anyone, young and old, who enjoys being immersed in big, romantic adventures, will love this series. Young readers hooked by Jacques's storytelling magic in Castways and the Redwall series are destined to be readers for life. May his readers be legion."—Kirkus Reviews
"This charming yet haunting story of a boy and his dog, fated by an angel to wander the earth for eternity doing good deeds for others, will appeal to any reader looking for the next step after Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle."—VOYA
"It has all the elements that make Jacques' books sing—terrific description, wonderful characters, and the power to transport you to an unforgettable place."—Detroit Free Press