From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–The opening sentence, There are few men in this world who can say they have seen their father die twice, sets the mood for this fast-paced sea adventure. Life for 14-year-old Daniel Markham changed the minute his father remarried. Mysterious friends no longer visit the house, especially Josiah Black. When his stepmother becomes pregnant, his father decides to move the family from Boston to Jamaica. On the voyage, pirates raid their merchant ship, and Daniel's father is killed by Josiah Black, leader of the murderous group. Forced into a life of piracy, the teen must battle with his principles while fighting to stay alive and avoid the temptations of a pirate's life. The startling discovery that Josiah is his biological father convinces him to escape but he makes a wrong decision that leads to his arrest. On trial for piracy, murder, and robbery, Daniel is sentenced to hang. He is saved by the pirate, who gives his life for his son. Throughout the story, Daniel develops a greater understanding of himself and his relationship with Josiah. The high-quality writing style, the strong cast of characters, and the twisting conclusion are sure to captivate readers.–Christine McGinty, Newark Public Library, NY
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Gr. 7-10. In the late seventeenth century, young Bostonian Daniel Markham is surprised and upset to learn that his father, a prosperous merchant, has decided to move to Jamaica, taking Daniel's new stepmother and Daniel with him. On the voyage, their ship is attacked by pirates, who are led by the notorious Josiah Black. The pirates release Daniel's stepmother, but they execute his father and kidnap Daniel. During his long time at sea with the pirates, Daniel learns of surprising connections between his family and Josiah Black, and he realizes that his father's murder was entirely planned. A wealth of nautical details, rich descriptions, and often violent nearly nonstop action combine in a sea yarn that can stand solidly beside other classic pirate stories as well as stories listed in the Booklist
Read-alikes column "Ship Ahoy," September 1, 2004. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved