Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
Will of the Pirates
by Scott Mitchen
iUniverse, 2008, ISBN 978-0-595-46857-7, US $12.95
E-book 978-0-595-91149-3, $6.00
Hardcover 978-0-595-70652-5, $22.95
After Mr. Davies dies, his poverty-stricken family doesn’t have enough money to pay for the cart to take his coffin to the cemetery. His employer, Mr. Purvis, comes to their aid just in time, offering to give the older son a job in his chandlery and arranging for young Will to serve as a cabin boy aboard a merchant ship, the Thomas and William, captained by Captain North, a fair but strict man. On the journey from Oxford to London, Will becomes a hero when he saves his mother and brother from a one-eyed highwayman.
Although reluctant to bid his mother adieu, Will craves the adventure promised by sailing and he can’t wait until he meets a pirate face to face! But one should always be careful of what one wishes. It rarely unfolds as expected, as Will soon learns. He has a hard time obeying orders, which nets him unexpected punishments. In Portugal he befriends some English-speaking chidren and together they tour a fortress where Will overhears secrets he shouldn’t.
Once he and the rest of the crew leave for their next destination, Captain North helps a damaged ship by sending over Will, his friend and the carpenter’s mate George Beeks, Phips the carpenter, and several others. While on a dare from the ship’s cook, Will discovers a map and boxes laden with gold. He consults with George, and they decide to keep mum about it. Later, pirates attack the Thomas and William, and Will finds himself a prisoner. Captain Hamlyn tortures the other hostages he took, including Captain North, before he maroons them. The only prisoners he keeps are Phips and Will, but can Will keep his secret and find a way for Phips and him to escape before it’s too late?
Will is a likeable lad, who tries hard to heed his elders, but finds himself drawn to mystery and exploration. He slowly learns to think before he acts, because his actions always have consequences. The villains are dastardly fellows you’d rather not meet on the street. If there is a drawback to the story, it’s that the ending doesn’t quite satisfy. It seems unfinished, which may be because this is but the first of Will’s journeys. Scott Mitchen based elements of his story on what he and his partner uncovered when they discovered a real pirate ship off St. Thomas. Will of the Pirates is filled with adventure that will captivate readers, especially boys. ‘Tis a grand tale to be read beneath the covers with a flashlight – unless ye be a landlubber frightened by pirates and secrets!
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Review Copyright ©2008 Cindy Vallar
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