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The Voyage of the Arctic Tern Paperback – June 2, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd (June 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0744594839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0744594836
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,361,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Between the covers of this handsome volume, brooding pen-and-inks twine around an epic poem that delivers a spine-tingling tale of treachery and redemption, pirates and ghost ships and an eerie mystery along England's southern coast. British author Montgomery, who originally self-published the poem, tells a tale that sails across the centuries and centers on a greedy fisherman who betrays his village to marauding Vikings. In return, the fisherman is cursed with immortality, and the only way to escape his fate is to accomplish three tasks: "to pay back death, he'd save a life./ Then rescue one who'd been betrayed./ Not sell but help the local folk/ By giving some great wealth away." The obstacles in the fisherman's path provide the fodder for a swashbuckling yarn. Montgomery's approach, which is unusual and ambitious, may work better as a read-aloud for some audiences, particularly as it's a bit slow going until The Arctic Tern leaves its slip. But those who remain aboard will eventually be rewarded with a page-turner boasting such characters as the murderous pirate Mad Dog Morgan, apt similes ("The hair on his head was as thin as his smile") and crackling passages ("The boat forged on through ice-blue waters,/ The warming sun was climbing now,/ And brilliant beams bounced off the drops/ That splintered from the thrusting bow"). Intermittent changes in rhyme scheme and scanning provides some variety; the gripping "Bruno's Tale" episode may remind some adults of the pacing of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Ages 9-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7-A sweeping tale of ships, gold, and treachery, spanning centuries and written entirely in rhymed verse. To expiate an ancient crime, Bruno, captain of the fishing vessel Arctic Tern, must live until he has found and given away a treasure, saved a life, and rescued one betrayed. Opportunity knocks when his ship is hired by a trio with a secret message from Queen Elizabeth to the King of Spain; ambassadors arrive just in time to earn a chest of gold by saving the king from being poisoned by his most trusted advisor. Vengefully, the advisor steals the treasure, then goes down with his ship rather than see it reclaimed. After centuries of solitary searching, Bruno changes tactics, outfits his reincarnated companions with scuba gear, and, successful at last, is finally seen flitting away in his now-ghostly ship to deliver the gold to those in need. The author varies his metrics from section to section, avoiding sonic monotony but giving the narrative a patchy feel that his frequent time shifts exacerbate. His plainspoken language rarely sounds forced, however, and Poullis's ink sketches, which frame or decorate nearly every page, add an appropriately brooding, mystical atmosphere. Some passages nearly repeat others, and Bruno's boat not only suddenly acquires a motor near the end, but is also depicted differently inside and on the cover, but readers tolerant of such inconsistencies may find the narrative form of this saltwater epic an intriguing change of pace.
John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "cdollery" on September 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am 38 and I enjoyed reading this book myself although I bought it to read aloud to children (My nephew is 6 but it would be great for older kids-too hard for my 4 year old niece). It captures the best of the mystery of the sea and the brave people who sail it. It is also a deeply moral tale of a man, Bruno, seeking to right the wrongs he has done even if he has to wander through all time to do it. The book never preaches but draws the reader in, making you share bruno's quest. This story is made more magical by the verse used by the author to tell the story. Although it is set initially in England the locations are so reminiscent of the feel of the New England coast that you can readily imagine the characters walking through Gloucester or Edgartown.
A great gift for children but you will enjoy it most if you read it with them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eddy Nathan on September 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Unbelievable. A 'NEW' sort of book! Quite unlike anything else available on the shelves, this is a real family read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I'm in the UK for a while, where I first read this and where, I'm told, its something of a best-seller. Should do the same over here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl D. Atkins on September 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This charming adventure tale, told in verse, is a pleasure through and through. The varied rhythm keeps it from sounding monotonous, and the lively story kept me turning the pages. A delightful bedtime read.
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