In 1805, 13 year old Sam Robbins and his Uncle Charlies are kidnapped and forced to join the English Navy on the prized and renown HMS Victory with Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson (whose statue graces Trafalgar Square in England). 200 years into the future, young Molly Jennings is trying to adapt to her new home in America, having left England once her mother remarried, but suffers bouts of homesickness. After coming into possession of a biography on Admiral Nelson at a bookstore, Molly’s life begins to change when she comes across a secret treasure buried deep in the book’s spine that links the two lives together.
Based on real people from England’s past, Newberry award winning author Susan Cooper has devised a wonderful time-shifting tale of adventure, youth, danger and loyalty. Chapters alternate between Sam’s point of view, and then third person for Molly’s chapters. It takes a while to really get to the link between the two characters. At first, Molly is hauntingly drawn to the book, keeping its treasure a secret from everyone except her stepbrother Russell.
I adored the chapters about Sam Robbins and the HMS Victory. At times I wished the entire book was about him and his experiences aboard such a well-known and valued piece of English naval history. The Molly chapters were usually shorter than Sam’s chapters, but her scenes were relevant in putting together their connection through time. Cooper also includes a glossary at the end for all the naval terminology used throughout the book. Her writing is sharp, clear and the story is well paced. The book was never boring, and even the secondary characters were as coloring and entertaining as the main.
This book is listed as Juvenile Historical Fiction. I would recommend it for both boys and girls about 10-13 years old. Boys will like it for the sea adventure, sailor talk and supernatural elements, girls will appreciate Molly’s character and probably end up with small crushes on Sam Robbins.Victory by Susan Cooper Aladdin Books, 2006 ISBN 1416914781, 202 pages Genre: Historical Fiction, Juvenile Age Group: 10-12
Books by Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising Series
The Dark is Rising (Newberry Honor Book)
The Gray King (Newberry Winner Book)
Silver on the Tree
Over Sea, Under Stone