This is Tessa Duder's review from the NZ version of the Australian Women's Weekly:
IT'S REFRESHING TO FIND a rollicking children's tale that both boys and girls will enjoy.
The heroine of Australian-born Kelly Gardiner's fine debut novel, Ocean Without End, is 12-year-old Lily Swann, and her world is one of pirates, tall ships, slaves and sword-fighting.
Ocean Without End is the first of the Swash?buckler trilogy, The second, The Pirate's Revenge, is due out in October.
In the best traditions of historical children's fiction by the author's heroes like Rosemary Sutcliffe and Geoffrey Trease, Ocean Without End has an easy authenticity borne of painstaking research.
Kelly Gardiner has a Masters degree in literature, and also works as a journalist and editor.
Apart from extensive internet and library research, Gardiner visited Malta, where she "retraced every step" of Lily's adventures. She added skills learned as a junior fencing champion in Melbourne to create In Lily Swann a wholly believable, if reluctant, pirate girl.
Abducted from her home by pirates, Lily becomes their leader, embroiled in a quest that takes her ship halfway round the Mediterranean.
The dialogue is convincing, the sailing details spot-on and an earthy humour hints at Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean.
Among the standard characters - the fat but caring cook, evil pirate chief Diablo, and Carol [ha! don't tell Carlo] the enslaved aristocrat - Lily is a confident, resourceful girl who is not afraid of a challenge.
This is a great read for children aged eight-plus and an effortless European history lesson.
And if you're quick, I think this Sunday is the last 50% discount offer on Ocean Without End in the Sunday Star Times (for NZ people only, sorry): look for the Great Kiwi Reads coupon in the Focus section.