From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9–Back with his mates at sea, and now on the enormous HMS Elephant
, 13-year-old Sam Witchall, first introduced in Powder Monkey
(Bloomsbury, 2005), is once again in the heat of battle. But this time he comes painfully close to death when he and his friend Richard are falsely accused of a crime and sent aboard a prison ship headed for Australia. The danger worsens when he escapes into the Australian Bush and is tied up by a cannibalistic murderer. Fate lends him a hand when two fugitives rescue the boys, and they fight their way back to civilization. The venturesome and dangerous life of a sailor in 1801 is vividly brought to life. This tale, however, takes on a much darker turn as Sam is exposed to torture, illness, and a gruesome murder. Adventure fans will not be disappointed with the daring rescues, shark attacks, espionage, and heated battles that fill the pages of this historically accurate and vastly entertaining sequel.–Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL
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'Prepare to have your timbers well and truly shivered by Paul Dowswell and his naval warfare novels, already hailed as "Patrick O'Brian for kids". With detail that points to extensive research and a plot with more snap than a cat o' nine tails, we join Sam on his journey from terrified "powder monkey" with a gun crew to experienced sailor who knows the ropes.' The Scotsman 'Another splendid book for 11+ boys, with a masterly climax.' The Times