PRISON SHIP by Paul Dowswell


Adventures of a Young Sailor
Age Range: 11 - 13
Email this review


Dowswell’s nautical Napoleonic-era tale, begun in Powder Monkey (2005), loses steam in this sequel, which carries young Sam from Admiral Nelson’s own quarterdeck at the Battle of Copenhagen to seemingly interminable wanderings through the Australian outback as an escaped convict. Thanks largely to his own stupidity, Sam gets into one scrape after another, including being “transported” to the distant prison colony on a trumped-up cowardice charge. But with monotonous regularity, a rescuer steps in before any permanent damage can occur, whether it be his steadfast buddy Richard or, more often, a hulking homosexual shipmate or some other conveniently appearing adult. As before, the violence of the naval action, underscored by Will’s gut-wrenching terror, is sharp and vivid. But there’s too little excitement, and too much tedious starving and stumbling about in the bush, to keep readers interested in his changing fortunes—or to care much when, at the end, massive plot contrivances bring him a pardon that clears the way for further adventures. A slow and leaky vessel. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-58234-676-3
Page count: 300pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2006