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Bloody Jack : being an account of the curious adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, ship's boy
2002
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PART IAn Orphan, Cast Out in the Storm,Body and Soul Most Lightly Connected,A Tiny Spark on the Winds of Chance Borne,To the Fancies of Fortune Subjected.Chapter 1Rooster Charlie allows as how today he's goin' to see Dr. Graves himself, the bloke what sends Muck around to pick up dead orphans for the di-seck-shun and for the good of science and all, to see if Charlie his ownself can get paid for his body before he goes croakers so's he can have the pleasure of it himself, like.Me and the others laugh and jeer and say, "Charlie, you ain't got the bollocks. He'll prolly open you up right there, without so much as a by-your-leave." But Charlie, he hikes up his pants and gives his vest a pat and off he goes to sell his body. The pat is for his shiv, which he keeps tucked next to his ribs.I've been with Charlie and the gang for four, maybe five, years since That Dark Day when me world was changed forever, but I can't be sure, the seasons run into each other so-we shivers and dies of the cold in the winter and sweats and dies of the pestilence in the summer, so it's all one. It's been close a couple of times, but I ain't dead yet.We begs mostly, please Mum please Mum please Mum, over and over and we steals a bit and we gets by, just. There's only six of us right now 'cause Emily died last winter. I woke up next to her stiff body in the morning in our kip and I took her shift, which is too big but which I wears over me other shift, that givin' me two things I own besides me immortal soul. We tried takin' poor naked dead Emily down to the river and floatin' her off with the proper words and all, but she's stiff and hard to move and Muck caught us at it and stole her away. He gives us a curse for tryin' to get her away and for takin' her shift, too, that which he could have sold to the ragman.Charlie is the leader of our gang and is called the Rooster 'cause his last name is Brewster, and him being such a cocky little banty, it seems natural, like. He's small, but he's smart and quick. Charlie's hair is straight and red and hangs to one side like a cock's comb. He's got britches that were once white and a once-white shirt and a bright blue vest over that, and he looks right fine, he does. A flash cove is our Rooster Charlie.Besides him there's Polly and Judy and Nancy, and Hugh the Grand, him what is big and strong like an ox but what is a bit slow in the head. Charlie is fond of pattin' him on his broad back and sayin', "Our Hughie is our muscle and our tower of strength in this world of strife and trouble," and every time he does it, Hughie blushes all red and rocks his head side to side and grins his big dumb grin in his gladness. Charlie takes care of us, and with his cheek and his bravado and his shiv and our Hughie, the other gangs keep their distance.Since I'm the smallest, I get called Little Mary, even though I ain't near to bein' the youngest no more.The gang is always changin', as we loses some and we brings some in. Like the girl Excerpted from Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary Jacky Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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  Publishers Weekly Review

"I prays for deliverance," confides Mary Faber, orphaned at eight years old by a pestilence that relegates her to a life of begging and petty crime on the streets of London. After her gang's leader is killed, she dons his clothing, trading in the name Mary for Jack, and takes to the high seas aboard the HMS Dolphin. Meyer evokes life in the 18th-century Royal Navy with Dickensian flair. He seamlessly weaves into Jacky's first-person account a wealth of historical and nautical detail at a time when pirates terrorized the oceans. Interspersed are humorous asides about her ongoing struggle to maintain "The Deception" (she fashions herself a codpiece and emulates the "shake-and-wiggle action" of the other boys when pretending to use the head, for instance), she earns her titular nickname in a clash with pirates and survives a brief stretch as a castaway before her true identity is discovered (the book ends as she's about to be shipped off to a school for young ladies in Boston). The narrative's dialect occasionally falters, but this detracts only slightly from the descriptive prose ("He's got muscles like a horse and looks to have a brain to match") and not at all from the engine driving this sprawling yarn: the spirited heroine's wholly engaging voice. Her budding sexuality (which leads to a somewhat flawed plotline involving a secret shipboard romance) and a near-rape by a seaman mark this one for older readers, who will find the salty tale a rattling good read. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

  School Library Journal Review

The first book in the Jacky Faber series introduces one of the great feisty females in young adult literature and showcases Katherine Kellgren's amazing vocal talents. In 18th-century England, orphaned Mary Faber survives by remaking herself as a boy, securing work aboard the HMS Dolphin, and hoping her secret won't be discovered. Kellgren shouts, cries, and sings her way into Jacky's frenzied world, adeptly creating voices from street urchins to officers in the Royal Navy to pirates to ladies of the night. This 2008 Odyssey Honor audiobook was followed by Honors for The Curse of the Blue Tattoo in 2009 and In the Belly of the Bloodhound in 2010 (all Listen & Live Audio). Standard: Students will identify 18th-century British customs, including gender roles and expectations. Learning Activity: By examining the dialogue in this novel, so richly interpreted through Kellgren's narration, students can analyze 18th-century British gender roles and stereotypes, comparing them to contemporary mores. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.<br> There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl . And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life--if only she doesn't get caught. . . .<br>
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