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Publisher's Summary

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 listener 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 10th 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.(All 12 novels in the Swallows and Amazons series have been brought to life in the U.S. in print by David R. Godine, Publisher.)
Listen to more in the Swallows and Amazons series.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By betsy on 07-02-17

This could be more offensive and boring

I have read the rest of the series as text, and find I far prefer it to this narrator. This is not the best story. They're away from the boats and have limited agency for much of the book, so it's a different type of adventure: an exoticized account of cooling their heels in China and doing Latin lessons. Sounds fun?

Larkin is shouty, especially for Captain Flint. She regularly misplaces the emphasis or tone of a sentence, and there were some whoppers of mispronunciation. (Bimeby is a dialect variant of "by and by" and pronounced accordingly. Look it up before you say an unknown word 50 times?)

The Chinese characters are written with stereotypical pidgin or exaggerated accents including consistent difficulty pronouncing R, even the Cambridge educated one. The narrator's performance of these is a non-stop embarrassment.

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