Secrets of the Fearless
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Set during the Napoleonic Wars and purportedly based on the seafaring life of one of the author's ancestors, this is a stylish, rip-roaring adventure yarn in the old epic style. It is full of deftly-written, exciting action, alarming plot twists, hateful baddies, breathtaking near escapes and a tinge of romance, so it could command a wide audience, providing readers can cope with the 368 page length. Having said that, it is obviously well researched for period fact but it is never self-consciously full of historical details and so definitely a story worth telling is at the centre and that keeps the reader turning the pages. 12-year-old John Barr, the main protagonist, is press-ganged into serving in the Navy and later coaxed into highly secretive espionage against the French, where, along with his friend Kit, he is put into mortal danger behind enemy lines. It all turns out well in the end and that's where the romance comes in! Don't be fooled into thinking this is only a boys' book. Nuff said? Recommend to anyone in Lower/Middle Secondary.