My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a re-read for me. This is a series from my childhood, and I felt like reading something nostalgic this summer. I was really into historical fiction at the time, particularly from this era, so I was interested to see if I would still enjoy it.
So the last book ended with Henry the eighth and Anne Boleyn, but this next book skips ahead to the reign of Bloody Mary and Queen Elizabeth, particularly the conflict with the Spanish Armada. It continues with Myles’s grandson, Robin for most of the story. He wants to be a sailor, so we are taken through how the boats were built and sailed, as well as how combat evolved on the sea during this time period.
As for the fictional part of the story, Robin’s father was burned at the stake as a heretic by the Catholic ruler, Bloody Mary (this was on the back of the book, so not a spoiler). He grows in hatred for the Catholics and through his journey he learns where that hatred can take him and what it can take away from him.
The writing is slightly better in this book than the first one. It gets really detailed with all of the ships and the political intrigue, which at times could be a little slow. But I enjoyed the plot. The twists were a little predictable, and the ending was a little too perfect, but it was still a good story.
I felt like the transformation of the main character was better done in this book than the first one. It was more of a slow progression and depended on things that were happening. Plus, you could see his flaws more clearly than Myles in the first book. The conversations had a little more depth to them, though it could still be, at times, pretty surface level.
Profanity is not used in these books. There is some slight sexual content, but nothing graphic. And there is a lot of violence since much of the book either talked about executions or combat. There is an abusive relationship also included, but, again, it’s not very graphic.
Again, this was a nice nostalgic re-read for me. The Spanish side of the conflict was fascinating. I didn’t know a lot about that particular part of history. I would recommend this to late middle grade who like historical fiction, particularly boats (it had a lot of ships and naval information).