Two children cross an ocean, two hundred years apart. One is Sam Robbins, a powder monkey aboard H.M.S.Victory, the ship in which Lord Nelson will die a hero's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The other is Molly Jennings, a present-day English girl transplanted from London to America, fighting a battle of her own against loss and ...
Two children cross an ocean, two hundred years apart. One is Sam Robbins, a powder monkey aboard H.M.S.Victory, the ship in which Lord Nelson will die a hero's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The other is Molly Jennings, a present-day English girl transplanted from London to America, fighting a battle of her own against loss and loneliness. This extraordinary time-shifting adventure tells the interwoven stories of Sam and Molly, linked by a mystery. Sam is a farm boy, kidnapped by the "press gang" to serve in the Royal Navy. At first terrified and seasick, he is transformed gradually into a sailor. In the rowdy, dangerous world of a warship enduring the Napoleonic Wars, he meets both cruelty and kindness, and survives a fearsome battle whose echoes reach through the years to involve Molly as well. Like him, she has lost her childhood but will find her future, with help from a very unexpected source. Separate yet together, Sam and Molly struggle through fear and excitement to a final ordeal which terrifyingly tests their courage. And the moving climax of the book shows two lives joined forever by the touch of Nelson, one of the greatest sailors of all time.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-07-31 In alternating chapters, Newbery Medalist Cooper (The Dark Is Rising) tells the stories of 11-year-old Molly, a contemporary homesick Londoner transplanted to the U.S. because of her mother's remarriage, and Sam, also 11, a 19th-century ship's boy aboard the HMS Victory. Sam also has a new home he's been pressed into service by the Royal Navy and assigned to kitchen duties on Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson's battleship. Initially, the connection between these two children, disparate in time, circumstance and locale, seems tenuous tied only by a biography of Nelson that Molly buys from a bookstore. But when Molly finds a historical artifact hidden inside the book, she begins having strange visions about Sam, his ship and the brutal sea battles of the Napoleonic Wars. These images resurrect lost memories of her late father, whose plane plunged into the Atlantic years earlier. Cooper tells Molly's story in present-tense, third-person narration, then switches to past-tense, first-person for Sam's chapters, a stylistic choice that makes the stories distinct but the shift between them jarring. While Molly's upheaval is emotionally rendered, Sam's tale bogs down in period detail about the workaday grind of seamanship. The resolution relies on an improbable coincidence to bring the two stories together, but provides a hopeful future for Molly. Ages 9-12. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2007-12-10 When 11-year old Molly discovers a lost artifact, she begins to have visions of a boy aboard the HMS Victory during the Napoleonic Wars. Ages 9-12. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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