Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Dread Pirate Fleur and the Ruby Heart

The Dread Pirate Fleur and the Ruby Heart

Sara Starbuck
For ages 9 to 12
Random House UK, 2009   ISBN: 978-1862307025

For eleven years Fleur has had a very normal childhood. Then, quite suddenly, everything changes. In the middle of the night, a group of bloodthirsty men breaks into the inn where Fleur lives with her father, and Fleur discovers that her father is not John Morgan the innkeeper. Instead, he is Henry Hart the pirate. Or least he was a pirate, and now his past has caught up with him. Fleur’s father promises her that someone will come for her, he hides her behind a secret panel in a closet, and then he goes to meet his enemies.

At her father’s funeral, Fleur finds out what her father meant when a strange man comes to the gravesite. The man informs Fleur that he, William Hart, is her uncle, and he has come to take away Henry Hart’s body for a proper pirate burial. He also happens to be one of the most feared pirates in the world. William also tells Fleur that he has come to take her away, and since she has no where else to go, she goes with him.

Fleur soon finds out that she comes from a long line of pirates, and that her father was the guardian of a special staff that has been in the family for generations. A pirate called Alexander Blood is responsible for the death of her father and for the theft of the staff that was in her father’s keeping. Many years ago Henry asked his brother to take Fleur to a cousin should something happen to him, which is just what William is going to do.

It is decided that it would be best to make Fleur look like a boy before she boards Captain William Hart’s ship. Pirates believe that it is bad luck to have females on a ship, and if they find out that Fleur is a girl, she is likely to find herself in dire trouble. Unfortunately, her new boyish appearance does not save her from being bullied by some of the ship’s crew. One in particular, Peg-leg, has it in for her, and Fleur quickly recognizes that he is very dangerous indeed. In fact, he seems to be bent on getting rid of Captain William and everyone who supports him. If Fleur is not careful, she is going to end up marooned on a deserted island with her uncle. If she lives that long.

Readers who have a fondness for adventure tales will thoroughly enjoy this exciting story. It is interesting to see how Fleur comes into her own, and how she comes to terms with her pirate heritage and the legacy that her father left her.

With colorful characters, an unpredictable plot, and all kinds of surprises, this is a story that will resonate with readers who have a fondness for all things piratical.