Set on the mythical island of Augusta, this is a tale of pirates, magic and the determination of one small girl. Hilary has always wanted to be a pirate, but with the Admiral of the Royal Navy as a father this is somewhat difficult. Add to this the anti-feminist attitude of the Very Nearly Honourable League of Pirates and she has got a lot to contend with. Having been sent to Miss Pimm’s finishing school, Hilary runs away and persuades a pirate called Jake to take her as a member of the crew. They soon end up in a search for lost magical treasure and a race against some true villains who want the magic for themselves.
This is a fast paced and adventurous story for the young confident reader. It is full of amazing characters, from a governess to a magical talking gargoyle, all of whom play their role and are important elements in the plot. The story is funny and uses many of the stereotypes about pirates, putting them to very good effect. A nice touch is the inclusion of letters written between various characters, which are then delivered to wherever their ship is, something even the Royal Mail struggles to do at times.
This is the first part in a trilogy and I look forward to reading of Hilary’s further adventures. Key stage 2 pupils would love having such a young central character.