Great Northern?

Great Northern?

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

'I was wrong,' said Captain Flint. 'He's not mad but bad. It isn't only eggs he wants. He wants to take the credit for it. You're quite right. It's up to us, it's up to the ship, to see he doesn't.'Dick's birdwatching discovery turns the cruise of the Sea Bear into a desperate chase. Not only do the Swallows and Amazons have to prove the facts of the case but they also have to dodge the savage natives and evade the ruthless pursuit of a fanatic egg-collector, determined to kill a pair of rare birds and steal the credit. Fortunately, Nancy has a few plans.
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Winter Holiday

Winter Holiday

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

The fourth book in Arthur Ransome's classic series for children, Winter Holiday takes intrepid explorers John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker, and fearsome Amazon pirates Nancy and Peggy Blackett to the North Pole. Joined by budding novelist Dorethes Callum and her scientist brother Dick, the children plan an "Arctic" expedition. But unforseen events separate the travelers and disaster nearly strikes in the exciting climax of their race to the Pole.
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Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees

Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

The third book in Arthur Ransome's wonderful series for children, Peter Duck takes intrepid explorers John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker and fearsome Amazon pirates Nancy and Peggy Blackett onto the high seas. Under the command of the infamous Captain Flint (Nancy and Peggy's Uncle Jim), the children brave a real-life pirate and his cutthroat crew, fogy, sharks, and the ravenous crabs of Crab Island in the search of buried treasure.
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Swallowdale

Swallowdale

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

The second title in Arthur Ransome's classic series for children, for grownups, for anyone captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Swallowdale, originally published in 1931, follows the Walker family and friends through a shipwreck, a camp on the mainland, a secret valley and cave, and a trek through the mountains. Swallows and Amazons Forever!
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Missee Lee: The Swallows and Amazons in the China Seas

Missee Lee: The Swallows and Amazons in the China Seas

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

The original cast of the famed Swallows and Amazons series is sailing under the stars and the command of Captain Flint in the South China Sea when Gibbet, their pet monkey, grabs the captain’s cigar and drops it in the fuel tank. In minutes, the ship is ablaze (and doomed), and our seven luckless protagonists are adrift in two small boats. They make their way to land, only to find themselves the captives of one of the last remaining pirates operating off the China Coast. But Missee Lee, as it turns out, is no ordinary pirate; her father had sent her off to Cambridge University to prepare her for a life as a teacher. But when her father takes ill and dies, she finds herself struggling to hold together the Three Island Confederation (Tiger, Turtle, and Dragon) he had created, and to be recognized as his legitimate heir and ruler of the Island Kingdom. Ransome is, as always, the consummate storyteller. Here he takes the reader not only on the usual sailing adventures and cliff-hanging escapades, but also into Chinese culture. (It’s no accident that, like so many of Ransome’s protagonists, Missee Lee is a woman, or that her Latin is almost as refined as her sailing skills.) It is also no wonder that The Observer called this, the tenth book in the series, “his best yet . . . a book to buy, to read, and to read again, not once but many times.” The Guardian put it “in a class by itself.” For Ransome, unlike so many writers of his and our generation, was particular in writing about things he knew and had studied first-hand, whether it was a foreign culture, a classical language, a cryptographic code, or the finer points of seamanship.
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Pigeon Post

Pigeon Post

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

The crew's on holiday, and they turn their energies to mining for gold, aided by pigeon messengers Homer, Sophocles, and Sappho. The adventurers comb the nearby hills for a fabled lost claim, while being shadowed by a mysterious figure they dub "squashy hat." Undeterred by drought, sudden brushfires, and the continuing presence of Squashy Hat, the young prospectors persevere in their quest - with surprising results. Full of the dangers and dark adventures of old mines and forgotten claims, Pigeon Post has an irresistible appeal to the persistent explorer in every child. "There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun in connection with a gold-mine. The ingenuity of this group of children is delightful and stimulating." The Times Literary Supplement
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We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea

We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

In this latest adventure (following Pigeon Post, winner of the Carnegie Medal), the Walker family has come to Harwich to wait for Commander Walker's return. As usual, the children can't stay away from boats, and this time they meet young Jim Brading, skipper of the well-found sloop Goblin. But fun turns to high drama when the anchor drags, and the four young sailors find themselves drifting out to sea - sweeping across to Holland in the midst of a full gale! As in all of Ransome's books, the emphasis is on self-reliance, courage, and resourcefulness. We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a story to warm any mariner's heart. Full of nautical lore and adventure, it will appeal to young armchair sailors and season sailors alike.
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Six Weeks in Russia, 1919

Six Weeks in Russia, 1919

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

In 1913 Ransome left his wife & went to Russia to study folklore. In 1915, he published The Elixir of Life, his only full length novel apart from the Swallows & Amazons series. He published Old Peter's Russian Tales, a collection of 21 folktales the following year. After the start of WWI, he became a foreign correspondent & covered the war on the Eastern Front for The Daily News. He also covered the Russian Revolutions of 1917, coming to sympathise with the Bolsheviks & becoming close to a number of its leaders, including Lenin & Trotsky. He met the woman who'd become his 2nd wife, Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina, who at that time was Trotsky's personal secretary. He provided some information to MI5, which gave him the code name S.76 in their files. Bruce Lockhart said in his memoirs: "Ransome was a Don Quixote with a walrus moustache, a sentimentalist who could always be relied upon to champion the underdog, & a visionary whose imagination had been fired by the revolution. He was on excellent terms with the Bolsheviks & frequently brought us information of the greatest value." In 10/19 he met Rex Leeper of the Foreign Office's Political Intelligence Dep't, who threatened to reveal this unless he privately submitted his articles & public speaking engagements for approval. Ransome's response was indignant. MI5 suspected he was a threat because of his opposition to the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War. On one of his visits to the UK, authorities searched him & threatened arrest. In 10/19, as he was returning to Moscow on behalf of The Manchester Guardian, the Estonian foreign minister Ants Piip entrusted him to deliver a secret armistice proposal to the Bolsheviks. At that time the Estonians were fighting their War of Independence alongside White counterrevolutionary forces. After crossing the battlelines on foot, he passed the message, which to preserve secrecy had not been written down & depended for its authority only on the high regard in which he was held in both countries, to diplomat Maxim Litvinov in Moscow. To deliver the reply, which accepted Piip's conditions for peace, he had to return by the same means, but this time he had Evgenia with him. Estonia withdrew from the conflict & they settled in the capital.
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Secret Water

Secret Water

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

In the eighth book in Arthur Ransome's beloved Swallows and Amazons series, the five Walker children are left on a "desert island" by their parents with provisions for a long stay and a blank map to fill in. Like all of Ransome's books, this is at once a real adventure and a lesson in the practicalities of exploring - in this case, of surveying the inlets, coves, mudflats, and estuaries of "Walker Island." Naturally, there are enemies to overcome (another clan named "The Eels") and friends to meet (who else but the intrepid "Amazons?"). And, as always, the children do it all solo.
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The Big Six: A Novel

The Big Six: A Novel

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

In this (more or less) sequel to the adventures of Coot Club, Arthur Ransome returns once more to his beloved Norfolk Broads where trouble is again brewing for Joe, Bill, and Pete, the three boatbuilders' sons who (more or less) live full-time aboard the Death and Glory and the three Coots, Tom, Dorothea and Dick. The problem seems to be that boats are constantly being set adrift, and all the evidence points squarely at the three Death and Glories. In a clever bit of detective work, and with some help from a sophisticated photographic trap, the Big Six manage to exonerate themselves and catch the villains. Of course, this book, like all Ransome titles, is about a lot more than clever detective work; it has the smell of water and tarred rope, the sound of birds, and the plight of children left to their own devices and coping with everything from catching monster pike to trapping midnight eels. Ransome, who wrote these imperishable books, spent his childhood in England's Lake District, and after a career in journalism that took him to Russia (where he married Trostsky's secretary), China, and Egypt (interspersed with summers of cruising through the Baltic Sea and the canals of Europe), he retired to Coniston where he could practise his favorite pastimes of sailing and fishing and where he wrote Swallows and Amazons. What sets these books apart from other books of the period is both his attention to detail and his admirable ability to provide a wealth of practical information. If kids still exist who wish to know how to read a compass, handle a main sheet, reef a sail, bait a hook, or pitch a tent, these are the books they'll embrace.
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Coot Club

Coot Club

Arthur Ransome

Literature & Fiction / Young Adult / Outdoors & Nature

It all started with a coot's nest. Dorothy and Dick meet Tom Dodgeon, Port and Starboard, and three pirate salvagers all members of the Coot Club Bird Protection Society. When one of the coot's nests is disturbed by a shipful of Hullabaloos-rude holiday boaters - trouble begins. Frantic chases, calamitous boat collisions, and near drownings fill the pages of this exciting fifth addition to Ransome's classic children's series.
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