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The Dark Frigate


The Dark Frigate Cover

ISBN13: 9780316350099
ISBN10: 0316350095
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In seventeenth-century England, orphaned Philip Marsham, forced to flee London after a terrible accident, finds himself in an even more difficult situation when his ship is taken over by pirates and he is forced to become a member of their crew.

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Home School Book Review, March 28, 2013 (view all comments by Home School Book Review)
In seventeenth-century England, nineteen-year-old Philip Marsham’s mother had died when he was young, and his ship captain father Thomas raised him on the sea. Philip would have been with his father when Thomas’s ship went down and he was lost, but the son had become ill and was being nursed in London by his father’s hopeful fiancée Moll Stevens. But an unfortunate accident forces him to flee London. He meets up with a couple of sailors headed for a ship at Bideford, and Philip goes with them. Along the way they stop at an inn where he meets Nell Entick and they agree that he will return to marry her. At Bideford, he signs on with the Rose of Devon, a dark frigate bound for the quiet shores of Newfoundland. However, the ship is seized in midocean by a devious group of men plucked from a floating wreck, the Captain is murdered, and Philip is unwillingly coerced into joining these "gentlemen of fortune" or pirates on their evil activities. What will happen when they are caught and Philip is brought to trial? And will he ever see Nell Entick again? This book won the 1924 John Newbery Medal.

I admit I was a bit apprehensive about reading the book as a result of some evaluations, but now that I have it doesn’t seem to me that it was as bad as they implied. Yes, some of the women are less than virtuous, but in contrast Philip Marsham himself is a model of honesty and loyalty. He didn’t come across to me generally as having “an eye towards comely women” but simply as a young man of nineteen smiling at “a comely lass” who caught his attention and whom he decided that he wanted to marry. A little bad language is found along with a lot of references to drinking alcohol, and I will grant that some of the murder descriptions are rather blunt, especially that of Will Canty. For that reason I would not recommend it for small or sensitive children, but after all it is a pirate story, and there is really nothing worse than what one would read in Treasure Island or a G. A. Henty novel. Charles Hawes’s first novel was The Mutineers written in 1920, though not published until 1925. He won a Newbery Honor Award in 1922 for The Great Quest, but then died shortly after the publication of The Dark Frigate, and his widow had to accept the Medal. If you are looking for a rousing seafaring adventure with bloody battles, brutal buccaneers, and a bold, spirited hero, The Dark Frigate will fill the bill.
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Product Details

Chappell, Warren
Chappell, Warren
Hawes, Charles Boardman
Alexander, Lloyd
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Boston :
Children's fiction
Action & Adventure
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Horror & Ghost Stories
Horror stories
Sea stories
Action & Adventure - General
Children s-Adventure Stories
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
- Up
7.26x5.22x.68 in. .36 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Middle Readers » Newbery Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Young Adult » Fiction » Newbery Award Winners

The Dark Frigate New Trade Paper
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