"Captain de Diablo is bad enough, but he's being controlled by a mysterious man called Hussein Reis, an Irishman turned Turkish pirate. There are battles and adventures galore, resulting in Lily becoming navigator on a small ship crewed by likeable rogues. Lily is rather too mature and confident for her age - but hey, it's a pirate story. Young female readers will probably love a heroine who bosses grown men around."
- Lorraine Orman
"While some of Lily's exploits seem a touch unbelievable (how did a twelve year old learn to sword fight so well?) the book is fast-moving and fun, and exactly what many a twelve year old secretly dreams."
- Lois Huston, Storylines All At Sea Booklist
"All the romance of the exotic, in the great Victorian tradition of swashbuckling adventure, is here writ large... There must still be room in a curriculum where often literature is bent to pedagogic and ideological ends, to revel in an adventure of 'otherness', to weave a tale about an exotic past replete with characters both eccentric and mysterious."
- John McKenzie, Talespinner.
By the way, the Storylines themed booklists are terrific, and you can download them here, or have them posted to you if you join the organisation (the Children's Literature Foundation of NZ). The Storylines Festival kicks off next month.
Talespinner is the critical journal of children's literature produced by Christchurch College of Education.
A few people have asked about the swordfighting business, so all I can say is that I started fencing when I was eleven, trained nearly every day, and by the time I was twelve I had quadriceps like a rugby front-rower and I could have beaten any clumsy old pirate or sailor.
They never practised. Didn't have a clue. Preferred to bonk people on the head with a lump of wood. Errol Flynn was nowhere to be seen. It drove Hornblower crazy.
There's more about that in the second Swashbuckler book, The Pirate's Revenge.
Fencing, I mean, not The Horn (incidentally now back on UK TV in all his gorgeous knicker-bockered glory).