Magic Marks the Spot

Caroline Carlson, illus. by Dave Phillips. Harper, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-219434-3
There’s merriment and intrigue on the high seas in this debut novel, which sets the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series off to a promising start. Carlson’s characters are as memorable as they are entertaining, beginning with headstrong Hilary Westfield, the daughter of a pompous admiral. Hilary longs to be a pirate but is sent to finishing school, where embroidery, etiquette, and fainting are mainstays of the curriculum; accompanying her is a wisecracking gargoyle carved centuries before by an enchantress. Hilary runs away from school to join the crew of a “freelance” pirate, Jasper Fletcher, which also includes her former governess, an arrogant boy named Oliver, and the gargoyle, who serves as the ship’s figurehead (when Hilary tells him he needn’t serve that function, he replies, “And let some no-good mermaid get the job? I think not!”). A race to uncover long-lost magical treasure pits Hilary against her father, and several unforeseen plot zigzags (along with humorous letters, newspaper clippings, and guidebook excerpts) keep the novel on a delightfully screwy course. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/12/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Show other formats
Hardcover - 344 pages - 978-0-85707-827-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-4160-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-4161-2
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