Victory, by Gary Crew

No sooner had the rumbling ceased, than Admiral William Ajax Burlington, commander of Her Majesty’s Pacific and Orient Fleet, broke into a smile of such enigmatic bliss that not one of use who witnessed it could possibly imagine that this mountain of a man was about to fall – facefirst and stone dead – into the now empty oyster platter which sat on the damask cloth before him.

When the dinner-party guest seated alongside Sam Silverthorne dies at the table, Sam is shocked. But he is also curious. How could Admiral Burlington have been murdered in full view of all the guests, with no one knowing how it was done?

The murder is the start of a new adventure for Sam who, along with his friends Lucas, Phoebe and Alice, is soon aboard a ship sailing for Madagascar in search of some answers.

Soon Sam and his friends are in pursuit of murdering slavers, poisonous shellfish and the extinct Dodo Bird (Sam and his father are naturalists).

Victory is the third offering in the Sam Silverthorne series but for those who are new to the series (such as this reviewer was) there is enough back story to enable this instalment to stand alone. Set in the late nineteenth century, in a time of sailing ship and no mass communication, the story has a comfortable familiarity in its Indiana Jones-style adventure, with Sam duelling and capturing baddies. At the same time, it is interesting (and heartening) to see Sam share with readers his distaste at the experience of killing a man and, elsewhere, witnessing a violent death.

An exciting read which will see new readers looking for the earlier titles, and fans eagerly awaiting Sam’s next adventure.

Victory (Sam Silverthorne)

Sam Silverthorne: Victory, by Gary Crew
Hachette, 2007

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