Jameson is the son of a printer who is swindled out of his inheritance because of his parents’ death and is forced to live on the street. When he is wrongly accused of stealing bread, he is forced into slavery for a baker. But that’s not where his trials end. One late night he is kidnapped by a crewman on the dreaded Attack Jack’s ship. Although the ship is under Queen Anne’s control, battle against Spanish ships through treacherous waters cause the crew to be more ruthless than most British Military. When Attack Jack learns Jameson can write and draw maps, he enlists him to help chart lands for Queen Anne.
After one particularly brutal battle, the hungry and injured crew take refuge at Crossed Island, a dangerous place where wild boar and other animals threaten to end their lives. The island has another secret…a cave that holds secrets only the Captain and his right hand man, Solitaire Peep know about.
When they return to Jameson’s home port, Charles Towne, the Captain is wrongfully accused of treason and will hang…unless Jameson and his crew can figure out how to free him without getting caught.
This is a fun adventure story that kids of all ages can enjoy. If they like ocean voyage and pirate themes, they will love it. Ninety percent of the book takes place aboard ship and there are great side characters to enjoy such as Gunther, who is a threat to Jameson throughout; the cook, who helps him out; and Jabbart, his unlikely comrade.
The violence is light, pirate-like ship combat and a little slavery content. There is also talk of beheading slaves because of their crimes, but I would still rate this less violent than most video games and TV for youngsters. This is definitely on the lighter side of PG.
As an adult, I found the end of the book unfinished and would like to see the story continue, but I can find no information about a new book coming. There is certainly a need to continue this tale and allow Jameson the chance to reclaim his destiny.
Overall, I think this is a great gate-way book to get your little pirates-in-training started.
Review by Emerian Rich