Cover image for Castaways of the Flying Dutchman
Title:
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman
Author:
Jacques, Brian.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, 2001.
Physical Description:
327 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
In 1620, a boy and his dog are rescued from the doomed ship, Flying Dutchman, by an angel who guides them in travelling the world, eternally helping those in great need.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
770 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 12.0 47662.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.1 18 Quiz: 24754 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780399236013
Format :
Book

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Concord Library X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
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Marilla Free Library Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
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Summary

Summary

The Flying Dutchman ! The legend of the wind-tattered ghost ship and its mad sea Captain, cursed to sail the seas forever, has been passed down throughout the centuries. But what of the young boy and his dog who were trapped aboard that ship? What became of them?

In this, one of Brian Jacques 's most original adventures, the castaway boy and dog set off on an eternal journey of their own, braving icy wind and waves to arrive at strange shores, and explore new places and times. The unlikely Chapelvale village is their first destination, a Victorian town under siege. If Ben and his dog, Ned, can help the townspeople figure out the clues and riddles hidden beneath floorboards and deep inside wells--perhaps they can save Chapelvale and its people as well.

Brian Jacques as you have never seen him before!


Author Notes

Brian Jacques was born in Liverpool, England on June 15, 1939. After he finished St. John's School at the age of fifteen, he became a merchant seaman and travelled to numerous ports including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a police constable, a postmaster, and a stand-up comic. During the sixties, he was a member of the folk singing group The Liverpool Fishermen. He wrote both poetry and music, but he began his writing career in earnest as a playwright. His three stage plays Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies, and Scouse have been performed at the Everyman Theatre.

He wrote Redwall for the children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, where he delivered milk as a truck driver. His style of writing is very descriptive, because of the nature of his first audience, for whom he painted pictures with words, so that they could see them in their imaginations. After Alan Durband, his childhood English teacher, read Redwall, he showed it to a publisher without telling Jacques. This event led to a contract for the first five books in the Redwall series. He also wrote the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. He died on February 5, 2011.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-9. The indefatigable storyteller of the Redwall books spins a tale around the story of the seventeenth-century Flying Dutchman, a ship condemned to sail the seas forever with its ghastly, ghostly crew. A mute boy, Neb, stows away only to find that the hard life he fled on land is far exceeded by the time he must spend with the ship's surly crew and mad captain. When an avenging angel sets the ship on its eternal journey, the boy and a black Labrador he has saved are spared and cast ashore. Both receive the gift of speech and will live forever young. Fast-forward to 1896 England. The boy, now known as Ben, and his sardonic canine sidekick arrive in a picturesque village in time to save an elderly woman from the town bulliesand, eventually, the whole town from disaster. The swashbuckling language brims with color and melodrama; the villains are dastardly and stupid; and buried treasure, mysterious clues, and luscious culinary descriptions (generally involving sweets) keep the pages turning. There's even a befuddled but extremely wise librarian who doubles as a schoolmaster. Older readers who enjoy Jacques will like this, too. Sequels possible. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido


Publisher's Weekly Review

Well known for his Redwall books (over a dozen volumes detailing the quests and feasts of various plucky woodland creatures), Jacques here turns his attention to the human world, and his fans will not be disappointed. Readers led by the title and cover art to expect a briny swashbuckler may be surprised to find that the bulk of the story consists of an ambling scavenger hunt set in a cozy English village. Pure-hearted enough to escape the curse that befalls the crew of the legendary Flying Dutchman, a boy and his dog are instead granted immortality and sent forth to "spread peace and joy" throughout the world. Two centuries later, in 1896, the ageless Ben and Ned (the latter is the dog) land in Chapelvale, a quaint village threatened with industrialization by a passel of nasty developers and ruled by a gang of juvenile delinquents. With the help of the villagers, the duo conducts a fairly contrived search (one clue is even written in invisible ink) for the ancient land title that will save Chapelvale from its grim fate. Though most of the characters are bipeds, the story doesn't veer much from the Redwall formula. Ultimately, it doesn't much matter whether the bumbling thugs sent from London to intimidate the Chapelvale populace are weasels or humans√ĄJacques's fans will be tickled by the characters' goofy slapstick regardless of their genus. The care taken with design (among other features, line drawings are set niftily into the first page of each chapter) adds to the appeal. All ages. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-This novel has a split personality. It begins with flair in 1620 in Copenhagen, where the sinister Dutch sea captain Vanderdecken begins an ill-fated journey aboard the Flying Dutchman. Also onboard is young Neb, a stowaway who is immediately discovered and put to work. The crazed captain, cursing God, forces them to sail the ship around Cape Horn in a horrible storm. An angel bearing a sword appears and dooms the ship and its inhabitants to an eternity of ghostly sailing; Neb and his dog, however, receive the gift of eternal life, the ability to read one another's thoughts, and the duty to roam the world and help others in need. After a brief sojourn in Tierra del Fuego, the story jumps forward to England in 1896, where the boy and his wisecracking dog, now calling themselves Ben and Ned, help save a village from being demolished. From this point on, the novel reads like an old-fashioned children's mystery, with all the good-hearted villagers pitching in, guided by Ben, to find the missing land deeds that would foil the plans of a black-hearted industrialist. Esoteric clues, buried treasure, village bullies, an absentminded librarian, and nice old ladies create a cozy, claustrophobic atmosphere that will make readers wonder what the Flying Dutchman had to do with anything-except for giving Ben nightmares. The supernatural aspects seem out of place and superfluous. Readers who are pulled in by the exciting sea adventure may well abandon the book once it segues to the slower, longer section ashore.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Copenhagen 1620 They sat facing one another across a table in the upper room of a drinking den known as the Barbary Shark. Two men. One a Dutch sea captain, the other a Chinese gem dealer. Muffled sounds of foghorns from the nighttime harbor, mingling with the raucous seaport din outside, passed unheeded. A flagon of fine gin and a pitcher of water, close to hand, also stood ignored. In the dim, smoke-filtered atmosphere, both men's eyes were riveted upon a small, blue velvet packet, which the gem dealer had placed upon the table. Slowly he unwrapped the cloth, allowing a large emerald to catch facets of the golden lantern light. It shimmered like the eye of some fabled dragon. Noting the reflected glint in the Dutchman's avaricious stare, the Chinaman placed his long-nailed hand over the jewel and spoke softly. "My agent waits in Valparaiso for the arrival of a certain man-somebody who can bring home to me a package. It contains the brothers and sisters of this green stone, many of them! Some larger, others smaller, but any one of them worth a fortune. Riches to fire a man beyond his wildest dreams. He who brings the green stones to me must be a strong man, commanding and powerful, able to keep my treasure from the hands of others. My friend, I have eyes and ears everywhere on the waterfront. I chose you because I know you to be such a man!" The captain's eyes, bleak and grey as winter seas, held the merchant's gaze. "You have not told me what my reward for this task will be." The gem dealer averted his eyes from the captain's fearsome stare. He lifted his hand, exposing the emerald's green fire. "This beautiful one, and two more like it upon delivery." The Dutchman's hand closed over the stone as he uttered a single word. "Done!" The boy ran, mouth wide open, gasping to draw in the fog-laden air. His broken shoes slapped wetly over the harbor cobblestones. Behind him the heavy, well-shod feet of his pursuers pounded, drawing closer all the time. He staggered, forcing himself to keep going, stumbling through pools of yellow tavern lights, on into the milky muffling darkness. Never would he go back, never again would the family of his stepfather treat him like an animal, a drudge, a slave! Cold sweat streamed down into his eyes as he forced his leaden legs onward. Life? No sane being could call that life: a mute, dumb from birth, with no real father to care for him. His mother, frail creature, did not live long after her marriage to Bjornsen, the herring merchant. After her death the boy was forced to live in a cellar. Bjornsen and his three hulking sons treated their captive no better than a dog. The boy ran with the resounding clatter of Bjornsen's sons close behind him. His one aim was to escape them and their miserable existence. Never would he go back. Never! A scarfaced Burmese seaman crept swiftly downstairs, where he joined four others at a darkened corner of the Barbary Shark tavern. He nodded to his cohorts, whispering, "Kapitan come now!" They were all sailors of varied nationalities, as villainous a bunch of wharf rats as ever to put foot on shipboard. Drawing further back into the shadows, they watched the staircase, which led from the upper room. The long blue scar on the face of the Burmese twitched as he winked at the others. "I 'ear all, Kapitan goes for the green stones!" A heavily bearded Englishman smiled thinly. "So, we ain't just takin' a cargo of ironware out to Valparaiso. Who does Vanderdecken think he's foolin', eh? He's only goin' out there to pick up a king's ransom of precious stones!" A hawkfaced Arab drew a dagger from his belt. "Then we collect our wages, yes?" The Englander, who was the ringleader, seized the Arab's wrist. "Aye, we'll live like lords for the rest of our lives, mate. But you stow that blade, an' wait 'til I gives the word." They took another drink before leaving the Barbary Shark. The boy stood facing his pursuers-he was trapped, with no place to run, his back to the sea. Bjornsen's three big sons closed in on the edge of the wharf, where their victim stood gasping for air and trembling in the fogbound night. Reaching out, the tallest of the trio grabbed the lad's shirtfront. With a muted animal-like grunt, the boy sank his teeth into his captor's hand. Bjornsen's son roared in pain, releasing his quarry and instinctively lashing out with his good hand. He cuffed the boy a heavy blow to his jaw. Stunned, the youngster reeled backward, missed his footing, and fell from the top of the wharf pylons, splashing into the sea. He went straight down and under the surface. Kneeling on the edge, the three brothers stared into the dim, greasy depths. A slim stream of bubbles broke the surface. Then nothing. Fear registered on the brutish face of the one who had done the deed, but he recovered his composure quickly, warning the other two. "We could not find him, nobody will know. He had no relatives in the world. What's another dumb fool more or less. Come on!" Checking about to see that they had not been noticed in the dark and fog, the trio scurried off home. Standing at the gangplank, the Dutch captain watched the last of his crew emerge from the misty swaths which wreathed the harbor. He gestured them aboard. "Drinking again, jah? Well, there be little enough to get drunk on 'tween here and the Pacific side of the Americas. Come, get aboard now, make ready to sail!" The blue scar contracted as the Burmese smiled. "Aye, aye, Kapitan, we make sail!" With floodtide swirling about her hull and the stern fenders scraping against the wharf timbers, the vessel came about facing seaward. Staring ahead into the fog, the captain brought the wheel about half a point and called, "Let go aft!" A Finnish sailor standing astern flicked the rope expertly, jerking the noosed end off the bollard which held it. The rope splashed into the water. Shivering in the cold night air, he left it to trail along, not wanting to get his hands wet and frozen by hauling the backstay rope aboard. He ran quickly into the galley and held his hands out over the warm stove. The boy was half in and half out of consciousness, numbed to his bones in the cold sea. He felt the rough manila rope brush against his cheek and seized it. Painfully, hand over hand, he hauled himself upward. When his feet touched ship's timber, the boy pulled his body clear of the icy sea and found a ledge. He huddled on it, looking up at the name painted on the vessel's stern in faded, gold-embellished red. Fleiger Hollander. He had never learned to read, so the letters meant nothing to him. Fleiger Hollander in Dutch, or had the lad been able to understand English, Flying Dutchman. --Reprinted Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques by Permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 Brian Jacques. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Excerpted from Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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