Bartholomew Mills And The January Dawn by David Carmalt
The year is 1798 and Bartholomew Mills has never left Plymouth before, let alone been to sea. Suddenly orphaned and alone, he joins Captain James Morel aboard the January Dawn and quickly realises that life on the ocean is fraught with danger – from nature itself as well as from a tyrannical crew bent on finding fortune. These are the last years of Atlantic piracy for the Dawn; Morel and his sadistic first mate, Ivor Stanhope, will let nothing stand in the way of their journey towards the fertile hunting grounds of the Caribbean. Adventure ensues and friendships are forged as Bartholomew and his small band of mates battle the elements, disease and the relentless threat of attack. But when he learns a terrible secret which stokes a burning desire for revenge, Bartholomew’s courage, loyalty and life will be tested like never before.
Bartholomew Mills And The January Dawn tells the story of 12 year old Bart and his adventure on board the ship The January Dawn as it sails from England to Barbuda during the final years of piracy. The journey is full of perils both on and off the ship.
I found this book to be both well written and entertaining, and I developed a real soft spot for Bartholomew. The imagery of the story was beautiful, and the adventures and shenanigans that took place on the ship were well thought out and all necessary to the plot.
The friendship between the three boys – Bart, Sebastian and Jonah – has a famous five kind of vibe about it, which I very much enjoyed. In a strange way, this book feels very much like a classic.
I would rate Bartholomew Mills And The January Dawn as 4/5 for a very good read.