I have previously reviewed the last Flyntlock Bones adventure and you can read it in this blog. This is a brilliantly funny story that is going to enchant young readers and which is perfect to promote for “Read like a Pirate” day, later in the year. Children are introduced to pirates at a very young age, but there has often been a gap for those who are just starting to read so called ‘chapter books’, so it is wonderful to find this gap being filled by such a lovable hero, together with his rather idiosyncratic friends.
Scallywag Press, 9781912650774
Flyntlock Bones, aka Flynn, is the cabin boy aboard the ex-pirate ship The Black Hound. Captain Long John Watkins and his motley crew have changed over a new leaf and now work as ‘recoverers of treasure’. However they are currently having a bit of a slump in business and are quickly running out of funds. Luckily they receive a last minute call from a previous client, the Countess of Bohemia. It seems that her jewels have been stolen yet again and she want the Captain and his crew to retrieve them for the second time. The only problem is that she swears that it is the same thief as before, who has stolen the treasure; unfortunately Captain Scarletbeard and his ship were sunk in the last theft! This leave only one possibility, that the pirate is back from the grave and out for revenge. Flynn and the rest of the crew face a hazardous journey down to Davy Jones’ Locker to see whether they are right. What they discover sends a shiver down their backs, as the nefarious pirate is back in business and he seems to have a new partner, in the person of a witch called Molly Macbeth. It seems the two of them are planning a heist to steal the crown jewels from the Floating Palace of Zora; the question is whether the crew of the Black Hound can stop them and send Scarletbeard back to his watery resting place?
Whilst this is a fantastic rip-roaring tale of adventure it also has a range of more subtle themes going on. The relationships between the main characters is all about caring for others, but mostly about accepting people for themselves. We are given a range of characters, most of who have a change of heart about the lifestyle that they have chosen in the past. Above all, we have a tale full of laughter and fun, where only the really nasty villains get their comeuppance and everyone else finds their perfect place in life. Once again this author has given us a book that will thrill the audience and persuade many of them that they want to be pirates (at least for a day). The illustrations are once again a perfect match for the story and are going to attract the young reader who is just becoming a more confident reader.
Derek Keilty is an Irish author and lives in Belfast. He has written more than 10 books for children. His Will Gallows series was previously short listed for the Irish Children’s Book Prize and has been optioned for a film.
Mark Elvins lives in Yorkshire and is a print-maker.
There is something quite fascinating about pirates and even ex-pirates; the stories have been sparking the imagination of readers both young and old for many years. As a child my first encounter with the idea was watching episodes of ‘Captain Pugwash’ on the television and then later on discovering the wonders of ‘Treasure Island’. If I thought really hard about it, I am sure that there were other pirates in books, but I definitely remember those to be found in the swashbuckling adventures of actors such as Errol Flynn and Burt Lancaster; Sunday afternoon was full of old films that kept us happy on a cold winter’s day. Today we have the whole range of films such as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘The Goonies’, as well as a host of books for all ages. As a librarian for a School Library Service I was constantly being asked for collections of titles about pirates and whilst there are lot of amazing titles about real-life buccaneers, it is also fantastic to be able to create imaginary worlds with a wide range of characters. This would definitely have been part of my collection at work..
Flyntlock Bones is the unlikely hero of this series for all serious wannabee pirates. He is the cabin boy aboard the vessel “The Black Hound” , but the crew are not what you might expect. They are all ex-pirates and have become ‘Pirate Investigators’ who help retrieve stolen treasure. This second adventure sees them asked to retrieve a precious gold goblet that has been stolen from Fergus McSwaggers, the chief of one of the clans in the Boglands; the only problem is that he is the brother of the cook on board the ‘Black Hound’ and they have not spoken for quite a while. The plot deepens as they try and discover who has stolen the goblet. The consensus is that it was probably a giant cat-like creature called the Mogdrod, that is feared but rarely seen and is said to love shiny things. When Flyntlock, his friend Red and the rest of the crew are captured by Gretel the Sea Witch, they discover that Mogdrod is her ‘Kitty’ and that she had taken the goblet. To further complicate the story, the treasure is then taken by the Ice Pirates and it is up to the crew to rescue it again.
This is a fantastic and very funny story for the young reader, who is just growing in confidence. The author has this real ability to make even the most fantastic of stories seem real. His previous series about an elfling sky cowboy called Will Gallows has been a favourite of mine for a few years now. As you can see from the images, Mark Elvin has produced the most amazing illustrations that bring the story to life and which are so intricate that the reader can spend quite a bit of time working their way through all of the detail.
I was delighted to be asked to join in the celebrations for the launch of this brilliant book and I look forward to reading further adventures in the future.
If you love this story as much as I did, why not read some more pirate adventures and take part on “Talk Like a Pirate day” on Sunday 19th September this year.
Meet the author
Derek Keilty lives in Belfast and is the author of over ten books for children. His work has been translated into many different languages, selected for the Richard and Judy Club and shortlisted for the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year.
Mark Elvins lives in Yorkshire. When he’s not drawing pirates he’s a print-maker and recently won an English Heritage competition to illustrate the displays at Whitby Abbey.