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VICTORY by Susan Cooper Kirkus Star

VICTORY

By Susan Cooper

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: July 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-1477-3
Publisher: McElderry

In a blend of history and time travel, blood ties connect a girl in August 2006 with Sam Robbins, ship’s boy aboard the British battleship Victory two centuries before. Molly (11), struggling to acclimate to a blended family and move from London to Connecticut, buys an old copy of Southey’s The Life of Nelson. In it she finds a secreted inscription and Sam’s tiny remnant of the Victory’s flag, flown during the Battle of Trafalgar. The narrative shifts between Molly’s second-person present passages (laced with mysterious leaks—via unremembered dreams and waking visions—of life aboard the Victory) and Sam’s vivid, first-person past recounting of pressed service—as virtual galley slave, then cannon crew “powder monkey”—during the Napoleonic War. On a quick visit “home” before school’s start, touring the restored Victory at Portsmouth with Granddad, Molly’s prescience sharpens, mirroring Sam’s experiences. She goes missing for four hours, curled unconscious in an interior cabin, seemingly witnessing the hellish Battle of Trafalgar and the mortal wounding of beloved Vice-Admiral Nelson. In the U.S., Molly commits Sam’s bit of flag to a sea burial, tying up this compelling, tautly rigged tale. (Fiction. 9-13)