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Privateer's Apprentice

Privateer's Apprentice

4.7 4
by Susan Verrico

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When Jameson is kidnapped and taken to sea, he must learn how to survive - and how to apply the skills he has learned at home as a printer's son.

Jameson Cooper always assumed someday he'd grow up to be a printer like his father. But after the death of his parents, he's wrongly accused of stealing bread and sentenced to indentured servitude for the baker,


When Jameson is kidnapped and taken to sea, he must learn how to survive - and how to apply the skills he has learned at home as a printer's son.

Jameson Cooper always assumed someday he'd grow up to be a printer like his father. But after the death of his parents, he's wrongly accused of stealing bread and sentenced to indentured servitude for the baker, changing his fortunes forever. What happens next defies all of Jameson's expectations: suddenly knocked out and kidnapped, he awakes on board the Destiny, captained by the fearsome Attack Jack, a privateer in the service of Queen Anne.

Now Jameson is learning an entirely new trade as a sailor. He's also using skills he learned from his father to aid Attack Jack in mapping the New World so that they can claim new territories for England. But the captain and his first mate, Solitaire Peep, have a secret hidden deep in a cave on a mysterious island. England's future might hang in the balance...and so might Jameson's.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4�6—Jameson, an orphaned teen living in colonial Charles Town, South Carolina, loses his father's printing business, is jailed for a theft he didn't commit, faces indentured servitude, and is dragged against his will aboard a privateer's ship. He meets a no-nonsense captain, the first mate, two shifty sailors, and other quirky crew members. It becomes quickly apparent that the captain is wise to the rough sailors and Jameson's plight. When he learns of the boy's printing ability, a skill that saves the captain's life, he commissions Jameson to draw what he sees as the ship navigates contested waters in search of more land for the British crown. The driving plot, including a harrowing battle at sea and an escapade on a mysterious island, whets readers' appetites for more action. Youngsters will gain some awareness of colonial life and the salty world of a ship, but the story lacks much historical context. Jameson's naïveté, especially his confusion when various deceptive flags are raised, endears him to readers, yet his character is not that unique. The bullying sailor and the seasoned first mate seem like stock characters in comparison to the captain, who is the most intriguing person on the ship. Pirate and adventure stories are fairly prolific, and this one is not especially remarkable.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
Kirkus Reviews
In a nautical tale that leaks from stem to stern, a printer's son survives one unlikely adventure after another after being shanghaied by British privateers. First orphaned, then sold into indenture on a false charge, then clubbed and carried off to sea, 13-year-old Jameson finds himself sailing into the Caribbean aboard the Destiny, Captain "Attack Jack" Edwards commanding. Jameson inexplicably worms his way into the captain's good graces despite being sullen, accident-prone and so slow on the uptake that he has to be told twice why the ship doesn't fly British colors in enemy waters. He goes on at Edwards' behest to bury a packet of maps in a secret cave during a wild storm for no good reason (except perhaps the general paucity of dramatic scenes), then, before sailing off to deliver the aforementioned maps to Queen Anne (this is 1713), he rescues the captain from being hanged as a pirate by forging a Letter of Marque. The author displays an incomplete knowledge of nautical terminology and the techniques of letterpress printing, and the climactic courtroom scene is so contrived that even Perry Mason would wince. With the likes of Peter Raven, Tom Cringle and even Jacky Faber roaming the literary sea lanes, not even the frequent references to dung, dirt, blood and noxious foods are enough to float such an underresearched, arbitrarily plotted clinker. (Historical fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 13 Years

What People are Saying About This

Kara Coffino
Susan Verrico's debut novel, Privateer's Apprentice, is a historical fiction treasure. Set in 1712 in the Carolina Territory, readers will be immediately drawn into the rich story world and become attached to its multi-dimensional characters. Jameson, the 13-year old son of a printer, has been recently orphaned, imprisoned, and sold into indentured servitude to the local baker. Just when he thinks his life could not get much worse, he is kidnapped by pirates and forced to live a life at sea. As Jameson proves his worth and finds his own place within the brigand of pirates, Verrico highlights the depth of humanity in her complex characters and reminds readers that one cannot judge people based on perceptions or first impressions. — Kara Coffino, University of Minnesota

Meet the Author

Susan Verrico has been writing stories since she was ten, when she won her fifth grade class writing contest. She grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and spent countless hours roaming nearby beaches looking for pirate treasure. She earned a BA in communications and a MA in writing from Rowan University. A history buff, Susan spends her spare time researching and writing. She teaches language arts in a middle/high school in New Jersey.

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Privateer's Apprentice 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When reading this book I was struck by what appeared to be the author's intimacy with those days and experiences! Shesurely captured the feel of things and brought them to life. I am impressed and deeply admiring of her talent. Who better to know the internal workings of a thirteen year old boy you?! (Luckily for my son, the author is his middle school teacher). Showing too that though times change the coming of age and the working of the mind on the cusp of adulthood do not. I can tell too, that her research was impeccable....................but the food, the sounds, the smells those took the the talent of a gifted writer. I salute and congratulate Ms. Verrico again on her fine accomplishment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I agree with previous reviewer in that it is a fun and wholesome story. This book is going on my Christmas shopping list for all the kids I give gifts to. I've already shared it with a couple of teen boys and they gave it a thumbs up. That alone makes it worth 5 stars! I'm also passing it on to my local library. I hope there will be a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Privateer’s Apprentice is a fast paced adventure story that is wholesome, fun and great for kids. Protagonist Jameson Cooper is the embodiment of the typical American teenager, naïve, aloof, quick to complain and even quicker to talk back. A reluctant hero for the reluctant reader, if you know a 13 year old, you know a Jameson! The characters were highly developed, given the short length, and the writing was vivid. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I would have rated it higher but I feel as though the book could have been longer. I finished it in 2 nights and my son, the reluctant reader, finished it in 3. He loved it and was genuinely disappointed when I told him that there wasn't a sequel.
BizzyLizzy1 More than 1 year ago
“Privateer’s Apprentice” is a fast-paced, action packed adventure sure to capture the imagination of readers of all ages. New author Susan Verrico has a talent for weaving (in intricate detail) the journey of Jameson Cooper, a captivating unforgettable character. I wait eagerly for what I hope will be many sequels to come.