Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Trafalgar: James Grant, HMS Norseman 1799-1806

Trafalgar: James Grant, HMS Norseman 1799-1806

Bryan Perrett
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic Children’s Books UK, 2002   ISBN: 978-0439994217

James lives in the port town of Liverpool and the time has come for him to decide what he wants to do with his life. The idea of working for his father does not appeal, nor does he like the idea of going back to school to study to become a lawyer, doctor, or a man of the cloth. What James and his father finally decide is that he will pursue a life at sea. In a remarkably short period of time James finds himself on the deck of HMS Norseman, a very young, and very green, midshipman.

James soon discovers that there is a lot to learn when one is a junior officer on a frigate. There are sails to reef high above the ship’s decks, measurements to be taken, and in time of war a midshipman might be called upon to lead men into battle. England is indeed at war and the Norseman is soon battling the French in the waters of the Caribbean.

The author of this book takes us into the time of the Napoleonic wars and he also shows us what it must have been like to sail on a royal frigate in an era when life at sea was full of hardship and danger. Through his words we have a ‘front seat view’ of the Battle of Trafalgar, sharing in the anxieties and perils that James experiences.

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