June 27, 2006

Review: No Quarter By Broos Campbell

Christine Sanderson, Voice of Youth Advocates magazine: In 1799, seventeen-year-old Matty Graves, a midshipman in the United States Navy, began service aboard the Rattle-Snake, a schooner under the command of Lieutenant William Trimble, Matty's cousin Billy. During this time, U.S. ships were engaged in unofficial battles with France, a former ally, for control of the Caribbean. When the Rattle-Snake encounters barges of "picaroons," or French pirates, Billy wants to surrender the ship rather than fight. "We cannot fight. . . . If we do, they will kill us all." Lieutenant Peter Wickett, second in command, takes control, successfully fighting the battle. Realizing that Billy, impaired by heavy drinking, is not a fit captain, Matty is forced to choose between family and his ship. "Billy had steered his own course, but by God I wish he hadn't enlisted me for his crew." He aligns himself with Wickett, advancing his career while sealing his cousin's fate. Campbell's novel, the first in a series of Matty Graves novels, is a work of nautical fiction, offering a detailed account of life on a ship during the Navy's infancy. Descriptions of the ships, the living conditions, and the battles make the setting come alive. Historically accurate, this adventure story could be read in an American history class. Perhaps its biggest drawback is that students unfamiliar with nautical terms will have difficulty understanding some of the language. The plot is engaging, and with a little help, most students, particularly boys in junior and senior high school, would enjoy it. see details | buy this book

No comments: