Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series by Brian Jacques
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
This is the story of a young, mute boy, Ben, and his faithful black lab, Ned. They are stuck aboard a ship called The Flying Dutchman, where an evil captain rules. When the ship is destroyed and the crew cursed to roam the seas forever, the boy and his dog are saved by one of God’s angels who curses them to roam the earth forever, never growing older. The angel gives them both special powers. Ben can now speak any language he needs to, and the two have a mind bond that allows them to communicate with each other via thought. Together Ben and Ned travel the world as directed by the angel and help anyone they can along the way. But even as they travel, The Flying Dutchman and its evil captain haunt their dreams and forshadow terrible things to come.
There are three books to this series: Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, The Angel’s Command, and Voyage of Slaves. I’ve just finished the third book, but since I haven’t reviewed any of the books here yet, this review will cover the series as a whole. If you like adventures, especially seafaring adventures, you’ll like these books. These can be read by older kids and teens alike. While there is a lot of action, this series is very different from Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. The avenging angel directs Ben and Ned, but it’s not overly religious at all. It’s a historical fantasy series, so the religion is only included as part of the time period for the most part. In the third book, unlike the others, there are characters from all over the world, and sometimes they use pet names (such as My Sweet, or Little Girl) for each other in their native languge. Those words, when first used, are starred, and an English translation is put at the bottom of the page. Overall, this is a great series where friends are made, evil doers are caught, and everything is righted in the end. It’s a fun, relaxing read. The final book has an ending that works well as an ending to the series as a whole. I say this because it was very possible the author meant to write more before his death, but I don’t know for sure. This ending could go either way for the series, so you, as a reader, are not left hanging, needing to know what happens next. The books should be read in order, but each story is wrapped up at the end of each book.