By Craig Simpson

Shortlisted in Secondary category 2016

1. Abi: I was happy to read this book but it was not my favourite. The choice of the Stuart period of history when William of Orange invaded England was a good choice as we do not get taught much about it at school. The author had clearly done a lot of research which made the book seem more interesting. I am quite glad that he author wrote about piracy and invasion although there are a lot of books on these subjects at the moment. I liked the main character, Daniel Drake, and I found that he was convincingly written but like most books when children are trying to find their lost parents they mention their parents a lot. It is understandable why they mention their parents so much but for the reader it gets repetitive and annoying. I failed to enjoyed the plot line because sometimes I got a little confused as to what everyone was doing. Overall  I think this was an okay book, it was not the best book but it was not the worst.

2. Jamie: I found Daniel very exciting and gripping and how it portrayed normal people’s lives in the 17th century. What disappointed me was that I found parts of the story very unrealistic. There is a scene on the pirate ship where a boy accused of filching is keel- hauled 4 times and still survives. In real life many men would suffocate or get cut by the barnacles on the bottom of the ship. Another point in the story is where Daniel is being chased by soldiers and is shot in the arm by a musket. He only feels a heavy punch whereas people needed arms amputated or would fall over. Apart from these unrealistic parts the plot was good and kept you wanting to read on. Daniel Drake’s mother is captured and a way of saving her seems near impossible. The author makes good use of tension and you can see what the characters were thinking Overall the book is enthralling and compulsive apart from the unrealistic scenes. I like the relation to the glorious revolution and how Daniel becomes part of that. The flow of the story wants you to see what happens right to the end.

3. Daniel: Personally I really enjoyed the book and I found it really interesting. I really liked all of the characters but specifically Daniel and the Dutchman I really liked the fact the Dutchman was a free slave but he was still leading out the Dutch fleet as the captain of the Endeavour. I also liked the fact that rich and poor white and black were all on the same ship working towards the same objective. I thought the book was really accurate in terms of the invasion and it makes me want to find out more about it even though I know a little bit about William of Orange. It does make me want to read more of his books and makes me want to buy Daniel as well it was so good. I thought it was really gripping and well written.

4. Issie:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think the history and language was quite realistic to fit the historical period and theme of the book. I found this book really well written, and although much didn’t really happen, I found the book really good. The book is about a seemingly normal boy named Daniel whose mother gets taken away from him suddenly and he is thrown into the world of pirates and law breaking. I really liked Daniel as he didn’t sit around and cry about his problems, he actually got up and solved them and I admire that in a person.

5. Katy: Daniel is a fast paced book, set at the start of the Stuart era, by Craig Simpson. I strongly like this book and I would give it 10/10 stars.

Daniel is about a young boy who is being tracked down by a group of English soldiers/spies that are working for King James. Daniel and his blind friend Cornelius get caught up in pirate business, with the help of the most feared pirate, The Dutchman. When they arrive in Holland, Daniel sets on finding his long lost Father and releasing his Mother from prison, however if he doesn’t succeed his mother and himself could die a beastly death. Daniel wants to be a hero in his mother’s, father’s and friend’s eyes but despite his mother on a death sentence and a lost Father, Daniel does what is right for the family.

I like how the book has always got something going on, if it’s a fight or a lesson which is always interesting. This book put me on edge at numerous points, I thought at least 5 times that he was going to die. Daniel is a gripping book, which left me reading for hours as I couldn’t put it down.

The history element of the book is very interesting. The main historical king is James the second, followed by King Louis of France. The main characters were pirates, who had a lot of battles with the English over Daniel. 

I have learnt about the immortal 7 who really existed. Mary Drake, Daniels Mother, had a letter addressed to them. I also learnt about Prince William of the Dutch Republic (also known as William of Orange!) who was invited to invade England.

I would definitely recommend this book to people over 12 years of age due to the use of language and violence it is not suitable for younger readers. I would also recommend it to boys due to the many battles and pirates. Girls might enjoy it if they like Pirates, war or history.

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