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The Picts and the Martyrs (Swallows and Amazons #11)

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  930 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Jibbooms and bobstays! Those two Blackett sisters are back at it again, and Nancy is right there in the thick of it. Their mother (doubtless suffering from exhaustion) has gone off sailing in the North Sea with Captain Flint on a rest cure, but she has allowed her two daughters to stay a fortnight at Beckfoot on the lakeshore with their trusty cook. She's also permitted th ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1943)
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Jun 22, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Blackett sisters Nancy and Peggy are on their rollicking 'best' behaviour - both as the Amazon Pirates they long to be and as the ever so perfect hostesses to their unwelcome Great Aunt - the G. A!

A string of complications begin almost immediately for the pair, when an unwelcome telegram arrives from the G.A. to say that she is coming to take charge while Mrs Blackett is away. Rather than create pandemonium, this news proves to be a catalyst for decisive, though hasty action.

Nancy and Pegg
"Do you really think she is going to make it very awful?" said Dorothea.
"Pretty awful, I expect," said Peggy. "She usually does."

Dick, Dorothea, and the Amazons expect a blissful time of adventures and sailing while Nancy and Peggy's Mother and Uncle Jim are away, but when the Amazons GA (Great Aunt) decides she needs to come to oversea things, all their hopes are dashes. They hide Dick and Dorothea away in a little hut so the GA doesn't see them. They live as Picts, while Nancy and Peggy act as
Jun 18, 2015 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Not the very best of his books but better than most that other people write. He has a magical gift for taking you there, showing you the world though the eyes of people you are nothing like (except I hope, in kindness, concern and a lively interest in the natural world), interesting you in things that might otherwise pass you by, and bringing it all to life in a story that Jake Thackray might describe as "a good tale, a little improbable, but a good tale". The magic lies in merging the improbabi ...more
May 05, 2009 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why I keep going back and re-re-reading Arthur Ransome's kid's books... because they're good I guess. They're set in the English Lake Country (mostly) in the 1920s (I think) and the adventures revolve around sailing and camping. In this one, a horrible old maiden aunt makes trouble for the kids, and they in turn plot deviously to foil her. It's not my absolute fave in the series, but it's entertaining and there is a nice plot twist at the end. One thing I love about the series is the (n ...more
Jun 14, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apparently Evgenia, Mrs Ransome, didn't like this one at all. I really can't understand why: this is probably my favourite of the series, even though it lacks the Swallows. Perfectly paced, beautifully plotted, and back in the Lakes. What's not to like?

I have also always thought that this is the one that ought to be dramatised. I can see why TV and film-makers go for Swallows and Amazons (it's the first) and Coot Club (better plot than Swallows and Amazons) but this one would be much better beca
I just love this whole series of books. I wish I had grown up with them, but at least I've found them as an adult. My fiancé read me this one out loud, and his G.A. voice is just the best.
Jan 18, 2015 Eugene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Up with the best of the Swallows and Amazons stories, and a real New Year treat as I couldn't get hold of all the series when I was a child. The image of dread pirate Nancy having to be goody two-shoes Ruth for the Great Aunt is a classic and will stay with me. As always, such beautiful writing and a celebration of children using their imaginations to entertain themselves and have 'adventures.'

Thanks, you, Arthur Ransome!
Jun 29, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
As a child these were my favourite books, I loved stories of adventure and my family holidayed in the English Lake District where these books are set so I knew the places they visited.
Whilst on holiday I would imagine meeting the Swallows and Amazons on every lake. At school my friends and I would play Swallows and Amazons. My best friend Sarah and I, being the only ones who were truly obsessed by the books would take charge and we would, of course, be the Amazons. Sarah was always Nancy and I,
Jed Mayer
Aug 23, 2016 Jed Mayer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, Arthur Ransome gives the reader the perfect summer vacation in book form: I broke my rule of only allowing myself one Ransome book per summer because my summer was going so poorly, and I'm glad I did--this is even better than its predecessor, The Big Six, showing no sign of waning talent as the Swallows and Amazons series nears its finale.

Always my childhood favourite of the “Swallows and Amazons” stories, I related strongly to “Picts and Martyrs” because being at the top of my generation in my extended family, I had a plethora of Great Aunts and Great Uncles; though none quite so antiquated as the Blackett’s, who demands that her nieces accompany her in their best frocks for a country drive. Even Uncle Jim is on best behaviour!

The thrill of the storyline of this book is of course living ‘rough’ and out of the sight of the ‘enemy
Anna Ciddor
Jul 29, 2016 Anna Ciddor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourites of the Swallows and Amazons books. I enjoy the vivid writing style and the gentle world of these stories. I read them again every few years. Listened on audio this time.
Fred Langridge
Jun 21, 2016 Fred Langridge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, obviously. Re-reading the whole series as an adult, the really striking thing is how well the adult characters are drawn, even though they're mostly in the background.
Dec 05, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Přestože v díle vystupuje i Dick a Dorotka, ke kterým jsem si přes několik dílů nenašla nijak úzký vztah se tahle kniha řadí k mým nejoblíbenějším ze série.
One more book to go! We really don't want the series to end!

Actually, right now, we've moved on to Coot Club, which is the first in the series that focuses only on the Ds, who learn to sail in the Norfolk Broads and meet a group of kids who have a club called, of course, The Coot Club. Our library didn't have it, but I put in a purchase request and it just came in recently, so we'll do that one and then The Big Six, which is the second book about the Coots. And THEN, we'll read the last book in
Apr 30, 2010 Caryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This is the final book of my Arthur Ransome collection that I have been waiting an eternity for! I read most of the Arthur Ransome books when I was a child but this one always eluded me. Now after collecting the rest of the series from the 2002 reprinting, I finally found a copy online that didn't cost either $150 or $999 to buy. This was also the last book of the series that I have never read, so I was excited to finish reading the series.

The best part is that despite having read them when I w
Another good one from Ransome - especially good for kids who feel put upon by older relatives, I'd think, as this one is all about the Amazons and the Ds pulling one over on the Amazons' detested great aunt. They pull a few reluctant adults into supporting their schemes, but this is clearly a triumph for the children over the 'native' adults. Highlights include some enlightening scenes as the younger Ds practice things on their own so as not to look bad in front of the older kids and adults, fro ...more
Aug 24, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Arthur Ransome. Can't be beaten.
Jan 15, 2010 Carolynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick and Dorothea Callum visit Nancy and Peggy. It looks like they are going to have a wonderful summer sailing and adventuring under the supervision of Uncle James (Captain Flint) when Great Aunt Maria unexpectedly comes to chaperone the Amazons. Dick and Dorothea are forced to hide in a little shack in the woods while Nancy schemes to protect them from discovery. Fun book, less serious and intense than most of the outings with Dick and Dot.
Jan 01, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I found and read the Swallows and Amazons series in my early 20s. I am only sorry I did not find them earlier. Stories of the family's summer adventures are beautifully written, and encourage responsible and creative living. Self reliance, intelligent reasoning skills, and strong imagination with these children provide an excellent backdrop for this series of books, as well as strong roll-models for any youngsters reading them.
Will Clerk
Mar 04, 2012 Will Clerk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nancy and Peggy's idea to hide dick and dorothy in the dogs home while there Great aunt is there is quite adventures. while they are hideing nancy and peggy put on there best behaviour trying to sneak away from there mean Great Aunt to help teach dorothy and dick to sail in there new boat named the Scarab
Oooh, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, wondering if they would make it! How perfectly wonderful! I love this entire series so incredibly much. The brilliant writing, the endearing characters, the daring adventures! It is everything a book should be. So much love!!!
Stephen Dawson
One of my favourites of the series, even though the Swallows don't feature. I always wonder if things couldn't have been done better by the martyrs, especially the need for the burglary, but there is always entertainment here as we are transported to the adventures of a different world.
Love it. They're getting away with fooling the great-aunt so far! And they really keep it up, against all expectations.
One of the best of Arthur Ransome's books. I found this book in the Glendale library. LA downtown has is as well but only for reference.
Kathryn McCary
Eleventh in the Swallows & Amazons series. Just the Amazons and the Ds, back at the Lake. . .and the return of the Greataunt. Another adventure whose consequences would be MUCH different in our current age!
Nov 20, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth, read-alouds
"Picts & Martyrs" had my whole family looking for an excuse to read an extra chapter. The synopsis doesn't do justice to the humor and happy suspense. This is one of our favorite Ransome books.
Feb 16, 2013 Tricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A children's classic...Arthur Ransome's books live on an English child's book shelf. The island, the sea, exploration, imagination. Wonderful!
Jun 30, 2008 AP rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple little story with a lot of humor including the Amazons and the D's with their new dinghy the Scarab. I love any adventure involving the D's.
The Swallows and Amazons series thus far have been fun to read aloud. Book 11 was not a disappointment.
Sep 01, 2013 Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captain Nancy has all the makings of an excellent spymaster. She probably grows up to run MI-5.
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Arthur Michell Ransome was born in Leeds in 1884 and educated in Windermere and Rugby. His family spent their summers at Nibthwaite, to the south of Coniston Water.

In 1902, Ransome abandoned a chemistry degree to become a publisher's office boy in London. He used this precarious existence to practise writing, producing several minor works before Bohemia in London (1907), a study of London's artist
More about Arthur Ransome...

Other Books in the Series

Swallows and Amazons (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)
  • Swallowdale (Swallows and Amazons, #2)
  • Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees (Swallows and Amazons, #3)
  • Winter Holiday (Swallows and Amazons, #4)
  • Coot Club (Swallows and Amazons, #5)
  • Pigeon Post (Swallows and Amazons, #6)
  • We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (Swallows and Amazons, #7)
  • Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons, #8)
  • The Big Six (Swallows and Amazons, #9)
  • Missee Lee (Swallows and Amazons, #10)

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