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Victory Hardcover – July 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–Modern-day Molly, 11, understands that her family had to move from Connecticut to London because of her stepfather's job, but she's still achingly homesick. Sam, also 11, lives in England in 1803, until he's forced into several years' service on the H.M.S. Victory under Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson. The boy eventually grows to enjoy many things about life in this small city of people in one floating wooden frame. Molly finds a scrap of the Victory's flag tucked into an old book about Nelson and begins to experience bits of Sam's memories. The children's stories alternate as Sam's memories help Molly come to terms with the loss of her childhood home and the death, years earlier, of her father. The mystery behind the flag and Molly's haunting by Sam drive the girl's narrative, while a prologue hinting at Sam's participation in the great Battle of Trafalgar propels his along to climactic scenes of the battle itself. His descriptions of 1800s naval warfare are both fascinating (the technology) and horrible (the stench, earsplitting noise, and the utter carnage of cannonballs hitting ships full of unarmored men and boys). Hesitant, loving efforts by Molly's family to help her cope with her unhappiness and Nelson's small kindnesses to Sam bring secondary characters to life. They also advance the parallel emotional stories underlying the novel about the difficulty of leaving a beloved place and the way new connections help a strange environment become home.–Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 4-7. Thirteen-year-old Molly, who has recently moved from present-day London to Connecticut with her family, longs for home. While visiting a bookstore, she is drawn to an edition of Robert Southey's Life of Nelson, which has an unusual artifact secreted inside. In alternating chapters, Cooper tells a second story, set in the early 1800s, about an 11-year-old English lad, Sam, who is captured by a press gang and taken to serve on HMS Victory. Two years later, wounded during the Battle of Trafalgar, Sam tends dying Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson. In the present-day narrative, Molly returns to England for a week and visits the restored Victory. Overcome by powerful sensations, she finds herself channeling Sam's experiences during the fateful battle. Later, Molly realizes the nature of the tie between herself and Sam and what she must do to set things right for both of them. Cooper uses a present-tense, third-person narrative to tell Molly's story, while Sam's unfolds in past-tense, first-person reflections. Both tales are so involving that readers will find themselves reluctant to let go of one narrator and switch to the other at a chapter's end. Seamlessly weaving details of period seamanship into the narrative, Cooper offers a vivid historical tale within the framework of a compelling modern story. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1010L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416914773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416914778
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,742,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Cooper is best known for her acclaimed five-book fantasy sequence "The Dark is Rising," which won a Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor Award, and two Carnegie Honor Awards. Born in England in 1935, she became a reporter and feature writer for the London Sunday Times--her first boss was James Bond creator Ian Fleming--before moving to the United States in 1963. Her first novels were "Mandrake" and the autobiographical "Dawn of Fear," followed by the complete Dark is Rising sequence (Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; Silver on the Tree). The sequence, deeply rooted in the rich heritage of Arthurian legend and Celtic mythology, is a classic work of children's literature, still in print after 40 years. Cooper went on to write other well-received children's novels, including "Seaward," "The Boggart" and its sequel "The Boggart and the Monster," "Green Boy," "King of Shadows," and "Victory," as well as several picture books for young readers with illustrators such as Ashley Bryan and Warwick Hutton. She has also written books for adults, as well as plays and Emmy-nominated screenplays (some in collaboration with her second husband, the actor Hume Cronyn). Recent books include the collaborative project "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" and her biography of Jack Langstaff titled "The Magic Maker." Her latest young adult novel is "Ghost Hawk." Ms. Cooper lives in Marshfield MA. Visit her on Facebook or on her website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Certain authors publish with an aura of definite mystique. Lloyd Alexander, for one, can still elicit a certain thrill when his books sit on a shelf. Ditto Philip Pullman. But of all these fellows, not a one of them can hold a candle to the majesty and plum good writing of Ms. Susan Cooper. Her "The Dark Is Rising" sequence is still the go to series when it comes to Celtic myth and Arthurian legend. It was with great shock that I discovered a couple years ago that not only had she written comic pieces (as with "The Boggart") and time travel ("King of Shadows") but that she was STILL WRITING. Somehow I'd assumed "The Dark Is Rising" books were written decades ago solely for my own enjoyment and that the author had long since passed on to another world. Hardly. It is fortunate indeed that "Victory" proves how wrong I was. Not quite a time travel book, but not quite realistic fiction either, this latest Cooper saga follows two children, inexplicably tied to one another. And while it's not the author's finest work, there's no denying the fine fabulous writing that has gone into it.

Molly's world has fallen totally and irreparably apart. A logical girl, she understands why she and her family have moved from London, England to Connecticut. She knows that her new stepfather and stepbrother are fine fellows and that her house and room are bigger and more beautiful than anything she's ever had before. She knows this. However, Molly is so homesick for England that she'll hold on to anything that might tie her to it as if it were a lifeline. When a book of the life of Lord Nelson falls into her possession, Molly starts finding herself connected to the life of a boy who lived hundreds of years before her own.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kemie Nix on December 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Suffering from severe homesickness for her former civilized life in London, eleven-year-old Molly Jennings is deeply unhappy. She has been transplanted to Connecticut into a new life and family by her mother's marriage. Forced into a sail with her stepfather and stepbrother, Molly is accidently knocked into the sea. Her terror, before she is pulled to safety, is so profound that it seems to set into play strange, psychic connections with a young British sailor from the past, Sam Robbins. Having been kidnapped into service in the Royal Navy, Sam ends up serving loyally on the HMS Victory with Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The seemingly unrelated stories of present-day Molly and early nineteenth-century Sam are told in alternating episodes. The connection between the two is masterfully. gradually revealed. The excitng past infringes on Molly's present until it culminates in a frightning denoument aboard HMS

Victory, now a marine museum. The ending, which ties up the complex threads of the story with astute perceptions of history, is totally satisfying. Another victory for its author.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tom Knapp VINE VOICE on September 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Sam Robbins is an 11-year-old ship's boy, forced from his home in England when he and his uncle are pressed into service in His Majesty's Navy in 1803. Sara Jennings is an 11-year-old girl, forced from her home in England when her mother remarries and moves the family to Connecticut in 2006.

Years and miles apart, the two youngsters share a bond, woven into the cloth of a tiny fragment from the flag that once flew over HMS Victory, the flagship of Admiral Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. The two children's lives couldn't be more different, yet author Susan Cooper weaves them together with the expert touch of a seasoned writer, best known for her landmark "The Dark is Rising" series. Cooper's research is impeccable; although Sara is an entirely fictional creation and Sam was nothing more than a name on a ship's register, Cooper has turned them into real, three-dimensional characters who feel, and consequently make readers feel, too.

Cooper's work is always readable and entertaining. Seasoning her story heavily with history from the exciting days of Nelson's Navy, there's enough detail about life aboard a naval flagship to make readers feel the wood beneath their feet, hear the wind in the rigging and knock their bread against the table, for fear of weevils. The juxtapositioning of Sam's and Sara's narratives -- Sam's in first-person past, Sara's in third-person present -- is completely natural, flowing easily across centuries as their stories unfold.

Written for young-adult readers, adults will find themselves equally captivated by this delightful novel.

by Tom Knapp, Rambles.NET editor
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader on June 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you loved the opening battle seqence of Master and Commander or have never missed an episode of Horatio Hornblower, then you will love this book.

Molly Jennings is so homesick for England she can hardly stand it. She is trying to make a the best of her new home in Connecticut and her new stepfamily but she longs for the green parks and red tile roofs of London. She is worried about starting life in a new school where no one will understand about her "sideways" moments. Molly has a mild form of epilepsy.

During a visit to Mystic Seaport she finds an old book on the life of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson in a bookshop. She feels as if the book is calling to her. On the trip home she falls asleep in the car and has her first "dream."

Sam is eleven years old in 1803 when he is captured by a press gang and forced to join the Royal Navy. His new home is HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship. Nelson is hunting the French.

Molly is not aware of her dreams but finds moments from them intruding on her real life. Her book about Nelson yields an amazing discovery, hidden in the binding. The words, "This fragment of the great man's life and death passed on to my by my grandmother at her death in eighteen eighty-nine" written on an old envelope seem tie Molly to the events of October 1805 and Battle of Trafalgar.

Family ties, home and love are at the heart of this story. It was lovely to see step-families presented in such a positive way.

History, mystery, sort of time travel-ly, I loved this book, reading it nonstop, straight through to the end.
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