Red Read's life takes a surprising - and alarming - turn when his mother sells him to an infamous smuggler plying his trade off the north-west coast of Australia in the closing days of the 19th century. From terrifying encounters with cut-throat pirates to battling the forces of nature in a tropical typhoon, from dining with head-hunting guerrillas to making meals of monkey stew, Red is in for a hair-raising adventure that may cost him his life.
This is a true pirate adventure, full of adventure and danger around every corner.
Red Read cannot believe it when his mother sells him to Captain Bowen, the infamous captain of the smuggling ship The Black Dragon. How could she? Her only son!
Poor Red finds himself completely out of his depth. He has no idea how he will survive the rough life aboard the ship, let alone the battles that he has been told they will encounter in their quest to find their loot.
It is a sharp learning curve and Red slowly shows that he might just have what it takes to be a true member of the crew.
The story is full-on, action packed and graphic in its descriptions of life in this setting and time, and it changes Red forever. In a short time frame he goes from a boy all lost at sea, to a young man finding his way in the world. As he says ‘I think I have finally worked out that my life is in fate’s hands, and there is not much I can do about that.’
Boys in Year 5 and up are sure to thoroughly enjoy this one!
Reviewed by Sam