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The Angel's Command (Castaways of the Flying Dutchman) Hardcover – March 31, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Series: Castaways of the Flying Dutchman
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel (March 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399239995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399239991
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up-This installment in the series is not Jacques at his best. It is 1628, and Ben and his dog, Ned, have been charged by an angel to wander the world helping people. To aid them, they have been given the ability to communicate telepathically. Early in the book they point out to a French buccaneer, Raphael Thuron, that the Spanish pirate with whom he is gambling is cheating. After that, the captain keeps them close, for luck, as his ship, La Petite Marie, races away from the Spanish ship as well as an English privateer. Their story ends, at least for now, on a beach with a priest who is conveniently the younger brother of the now dead Thuron. When Ben presents him with the pirate captain's ill-gotten gains, the priest's days of worry about his "children" and the parish are ended. Another adventure, set in the mountains, is sandwiched in between the tavern in Cartagena and the beach. With the exception of the English privateer, the characters lack a distinctive voice, and the constant and secret wisecracking between Ben and Ned gets a little annoying. In addition, Jacques, who is usually so good with setting a scene and putting readers right into it, fails to capture life on a ship. There are guest appearances by the Flying Dutchman to add a level of spookiness, and the plot is almost nonstop action, with lots of swordplay, an avalanche, and a shark attack. A book for fans of the first "Dutchman" title.
Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-9. In this sequel to Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (2001), Ben and his black Labrador pal, Ned, continue their travels after an angel rescues them from the evil crew of the ship The Flying Dutchman. As with the first book, this novel is divided into two nearly separate stories. The first plops the heroes into seventeenth-century Caribbean waters, teaming them with Captain Thuron, a valiant French buccaneer. This adventure comes to an abrupt end with Thuron's death, and Ben and Ned soon find themselves allied with new compatriots in an attempt to rescue a young man from the Razan, a tribe well versed in the black arts who live high in the Pyrenees. Although the heroes usually escape from tight spots through fortuitous accidents or divine intervention rather than clever plot twists, Jacques has still come up with another page-turner. Readers who enjoyed the first book will find this sequel even more exciting. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I really enjoyed it and I cant wait for the next book to come out.
I can't wait for Brian Jacques next book, weather it's a Red Wall tale or a Dutchman tale...
Big Jim "pyrofalcon00"
The story is very creative and the characters are fun and well written.
Christy Frazier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Gary Hatch on July 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the second in the series "Castaways of the Flying Dutchman." Like the first book, Castaways, this book is really two books, two completely separate stories involving the same characters (although there is a return to the first story at the end of the book). As with Castaways, Angel's Command begins with a naval adventure. But instead of traveling with the demonic Captain Vanderdecken, Ben and Ned find themselves onboard a pirate ship with a kindly French captain who has tricked a ruthless Spaniard out of his treasure. The French buccaneers must also outrun an English privateer, hot on their tail. What follows is an exciting chase from the Caribbean across the Atlantic to France. In typical fashion for Jacques, the wicked come to justice, sowing the seeds of their own destruction. But Jacques is also able to show how even wickedness can be turned for good. In the second story, Ben and Ned meet up with some new friends to try to help a aging Comte find his dead brother's lost son. Ben and Ned rescue Karey, a young con artist with a beautiful voice, and join up with Dominic a "face maker," who can draw portraits so lifelike that they reveal a person's true character. They must search for him among the ruthless and evil Razan, a band of marauders hidden in the Pyrenees. Ben and Ned find help from a tough goatherd, a woman who lives by herself in the mountains. Ultimately, the power of the angel comes to their rescue in a surprising fashion. In the Castaways series Jacques deals with a more explicitly religious world than he does in Redwall, where there is morality and a force for good, but not angels from God. Jacques is a master of storytelling, but in the Castaway series, he also shows his ability to explore different characters. This book will both "teach and delight."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Better than the first Flying Dutchman book, Ben and Ned meet more charecter's you'll love (and some you'll hate) as they are forced to go back to the sea in the first part of the book. After their adventures on the wide ocean, they go inland so face their hardest challeneges yet.
Whether you are a younger Redall fan looking for more Brian Jacques or on older person (or Redwall fan) looking for a good story told by a master storyteller, "The Angel's Command" fits the bill. It is necessary, though, to read the first in the series ("Castaways of the Flying Dutchman") first.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on October 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Overall, I enjoyed this book whole lot better then I enjoyed the first book of this series. At least this time, the story take place within the framework from the time when the Flying Dutchman got cursed. The story maintained it pacing better and it was more consistence. The characters proves to be somewhat interesting and relatively well thoughtout within the frame work of the book. While Brian Jacques' writing in this series appears to be less impressive then his Redwall series, I thought it was an interesting and somewhat entertaining reading material for the young and the old. Ben and Ned's interpersonal communication keep the story going and I am still not sure if their eternal youth is a curse or a blessing. What would it be like to be young, blond and good looking with a loyal and intelligent dog at your bare feet forever?? It may be the combination of both as they aged in years but not in body.

I did spot several of obvious mistakes in Angel's Command commited by Mr. Jacques. First, when Capt Teal was being threatened toward the end, he was threatened with a "guillotine", a name not used until the French Revolution and not a form of execution in France during the reign of Louis XIII. Second, Teal identified himself as being in "His Britannic Majesty" service, such terms were not used by Englishmen in service of Charles I. I should also mentioned that term "centimes" which was being haggled over at the gates wasn't used until Napoleonic period and five francs is more money then most French would see in a month back in 1620s. Proper term would be "sou" back then which was wortha bout 5 centimes.

Still, the book was entertaining to a point and I enjoyed it. Since this book proves to be a considerable improvement over the first one, I may hope that the third book in this series will also show improvement over the second one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aunt Dizzy on December 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm 40 years old, and I couldn't put this book down. I tend to skim books with huge elaborations, but you won't want to miss a single word in this story.
And if I could have superpowers, Ben has them. Speak any language spoken and talk to your dog, awesome!
I bought two copies for our school library
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. on May 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a long time Redwall fan I remember, a few years ago, when I went to a Brain Jacques book signing when he announced that he was going to write Castaways of the Flying Dutchmen, the book to which An Angel's Command is a sequel to. The reaction from the crowd was not one he expected. It was one of horror. Millions of children thought that it meant he was going to stop writing Redwall, or at least postpone it for a little while, and it terrified us all. Luckily, we were wrong. With Castaways of the Flying Dutchmen and now, with The Angel's Command, Brain Jacques proves he can create not just one but TWO series.
The book, like Castaways, is divided into two stories that take place back to back in the early 17th century. The first story tells of Ben and Ned, the Castaways, first trip back to the sea. Almost by accident, Ben and Ned find themselves traveling from the Caribbean to France on the Buccaneer ship, Le Petit Marine. They are trailed by two ships, a vengeful Spanish pirate ship and a corrupted English privateer boat. Both of them are interested in one thing, Le Petit Marie's gold. Ben and Ned know they must help their new friend, the captain Thuron, in any way possible. But the crew of the ship is not as noble as the captain. They don't want to go back to France, and they'll do anything to stop the captain from getting them their. At the same time Ben and Ned are haunted by images of the Flying Dutchman. Has Captain Vanderdecken come back to haunt them?
The second story happens almost directly after the first one. Ben and Ned run into a gypsy girl named Lalay and a facemaker named Dominic that can see into the hearts of his models for his drawings. They travel to a city called Vernon as friends and find themselves caught up in a strange adventure.
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More About the Author

A well-known radio personality in his native Liverpool--as well as an actor, stand-up comic, and playwright--Brian Jacques (1939-2011) was the host of "Jakestown" on BBC Radio Merseyside. Ever the performer, Jacques was well-known for applying his acting and entertainment background to his lively presentations to legions of young fans at schools across the United States and England. Brian Jacques was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact. He grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks. His interest in adventure stories began at an early age with reading the books of: Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Thomas Malory, Robert Michael Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Kenneth Grahame. He attended St. John's School, an inner city school that had its playground on the roof. On his first day at St. John's, at the age of ten, he had an experience that marked his potential as a writer. When given an assignment of writing a story about animals, he wrote about the bird that cleaned a crocodile's teeth. The teacher could not, and would not, believe that a ten year old could write that well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then, that he realized that he had a talent for writing. "My favourite teacher was Mr. Austin Thomas. He looked like Lee Marvin. Big Man. A Captain in World War II. He came to school on a big bush bike with the haversack on back. He was a man's man. Always fair. I was fourteen at the time when Mr. Thomas introduced the class to poetry and Greek literature. (Because of him, I saved seven shillings and sixpence to buy The Iliad and The Odyssey at this dusty used book shop.)" This interest in poetry extended to Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Goldsmith. It was also at St. John's that Brian met a teacher, Alan Durband (who also taught two Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison), who, more than thirty years later would bring about a major change in his life. After Brian finished school at fifteen, he set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman. He travelled to many far away ports, including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable 216D), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic. Jacques passed away in February of 2011 at the age of 71.

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