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Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons #8)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,159 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The Swallows are marooned with just a little sailing boat for company. Will they survive their chance to become true explorers?
When the Walker family's holiday plans are ruined by Daddy having to work, the whole summer seems lost at sea. But a dull holiday for the children is too miserable to bear so their parents hatch a plan. The Swallows are to be marooned on an island
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published December 27th 1987 by Jonathan Cape (first published 1939)
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Life of Pi by Yann MartelThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest HemingwayMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonThe Odyssey by Homer
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The very, very slow starting SECRET WATER is #8 -- and my least favorite so far-- in the Swallow and Amazon Series. In fact, I think this is one I'd suggest kids skip altogether;

alternatively, I'd encourage any parent or responsible adult who might be reading this series aloud to a young child or who is aware of a youngster who is reading the series to FIRST read this one him- or her-self and decide on its appropriateness, or if reluctant about "censorship," at least to be aware of the content
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,
Probably my favourite Ransome (although I've a feeling I've already said that, and I've not finished the series re-read yet). This one, while packed full of adventure, description, and siblings happily camping, is also awesomely geeky. Ever wondered how to accurately map an island? What do you mean, 'no'? Well, wake up and smell the saltmarshes ...

But in fact there's not a huge amount of standing around holding surveying poles and taking compass bearings, because where this Ransome scores most i
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.
This one never really worked for me.
The sudden change in the Nancy character I could understand as John comes across as a total bore, perhaps with reason. It was just that the whole story didn't seem to have the normal Ransome ' I must read the next chapter ' feeling that I normally got when I first read it. It got to the point that I couldn't care less about what happened to any of them!
Claire Haeg
I think this was once one of my favourites, but it is, on reading as an adult, a little tainted by some serious colonial-era racism!
Maureen E
by Arthur Ransome

Opening line: "The First Lord of the Admiralty was unpopular at Pin Mill."

So, I have already documented the depths of my Arthur Ransome obsession love. Oh, the red caps! The sailing lessons! The singing of "Drunken Sailor"! The tacking at recess!

Anyway, it's been awhile since I actually read any Ransome. When I saw Secret Water sitting on the new book shelf at the library I snatched it up, especially since I remember it being one of my favorites.

And, oh my friends, I love this b
On the whole I think that attitudes expressed in books should be considered according to the prevailing attitudes of the time they were written. There is always a sense of empire, of England's authority over the world reflected in the Swallows and Amazons books, but here, the changing of the main noun from natives to savages seems to cross my comfort line. The pinko twenty first century liberal is offended. The self deprecation is genuine. I know I'm being somehow hypocritical. While I'm applyin ...more
Ransome mě provedl podstatnou částí dětství, jeho knihy o dobrodružství Amazonek a Vlaštovek jsem hltala jedním dechem a podobné příběhy ráda sama podnikala. Záhadné vody byly první knihou, kterou jsem od něj přečetla a tak ji mám možná ještě o něco radši než ty ostatní.
Líbilo se mi, jak dětem byla dána důvěra a mohly vyrazit samy a celé prázdniny si báječně užily, našly nové přátelé a skutečně prozkoumali Záhadné vody...
Logan loves it when they add new characters and in this one, the Swallows are dropped off by their parents in an area of tidal streams and islands, given a rough map, and tasked with filling out the map in detail. So they call themselves The Explorers. Soon they meet other kids, the Eels, but whether they will be friends or foes is unclear. Such fun! Bridget "the ship's baby" comes into her own in this book and she's a scream. "I'm NOT too young to be a human sacrifice!" Up until now, our favori ...more
Richard Burton
This book reunites the Swallows and Amazons in an unfamiliar - and totally unexplored - area which they have to map before being 'rescued' by the Walkers' parents. Secret Water also introduces a new 'gang' of sailing infatuated kids, The Eels, and is also the first adventure featuring the youngest Walker, Bridget (just a baby the very first S&A book). Together the incredibly self-sufficient band of youngsters explore a world of tidal-affected islands, indulge in native ceremonies and wade th ...more
Simon Lucas
One of my favourite books as a child and still one of my favourite novels. Quite simply, this is the story of my childhood.
"What are we going to do?" asked Roger.
"Get her back," panted John
"What are we going to do?" asked Titty.
"Bust those Eels," jerked Nancy, as she swung forward with her oar. (247)

"Can anybody think of anything we want?"
"We ate the last bit of chocolate yesterday," said Roger.
"Can't you think of anything but chocolate?" said John.
"Of course I can," said Roger. "But chocolate's jolly important. All the explorers have it. Scott and Nansen and Columbus..."
"Not Columbus," said Titty. "It wasn't inven
Childhood favorite. I reread one from this series every Summer.
Mary Taitt
This book is not quite as adventurous as some of the other Swallow and Amazon books, but it is very good. There is excitement and danger and no adults nearby. Lots of friendship and warring and good fun. The Swallows are marooned on a "desert island" where there are savages ("the eels") and friends (the Amazons) and given a mission--to map the secret water. It looks like the might not succeed. The ship's baby, Brigitte, volunteers to be a human sacrifice. A good read.
More sedate adventures follow _We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea_, as the Amazons join the Swallows (including ship's baby Bridget) and the newly introduced Eels in exploring unknown islands and mudflats. Some well-drawn interactions between the groups, but some of the characters are a bit one-dimensional and cartography just didn't seem exciting after being blown to sea.
Stephen Dawson
Following straight on from We Didn't Mean to Go To Sea, the eighth book in the series once again combines sailing, exploration and what seems extraordinary freedom/independence for young children, this time set on the Essex coast - another favourite of Arthur Ransome. Not the best of the series, but still very entertaining.
David R. Godine
"Once more the Swallows and the Amazons have a magnificent exploring adventure; once more Arthur Ransome has kept a complete record of their experiences, terrors, triumphs and set it down with the cunning that casts a spell over new children and old."
Times Literary Supplement
Kate B
I loved all the Swallows and Amazons books as a child. I was envious of their freedom to go off without adults for days on end; did parents really encourage that in the 1930s? My parents were children in the 1950s (so only a generation later) and had to be back before tea.
M Wiegers
This one seems a return to the first book in the series. Ella continues to love the character of Nancy, while I favor Roger for his appetite, and in this case, his headbutt. Love the newly introduced character, Don (Mastodon).
Kathryn McCary
Eighth of the Swallows & Amazons series, and my least favorite: no D's, no Coots, and the new lot of children who replace them are (with one exception) nowhere near as engaging. Still a good read, though.
A healthy dose of Captain Nancy. Note that the presence of Commander Walker makes John an over-anxious, oddly goal-driven, almost killjoy explorer.
Ah, if only all juvenile literature was this fun and literate!
My favorite Ransome book! Love it!
Secret Water by Arthur Ransome (2001)
Feb 25, 2011 Amyem added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I own a paperback and hardcover.

Nice one! Bring me more!
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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
  • 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)
  • The Big Six (Swallows and Amazons, #9)
  • Missee Lee (Swallows and Amazons, #10)
  • The Picts & the Martyrs or Not Welcome at All (Swallows and Amazons, #11)
Swallows and Amazons Pigeon Post (Swallows and Amazons, #6) Swallowdale (Swallows and Amazons, #2) Winter Holiday (Swallows and Amazons, #4) We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (Swallows and Amazons, #7)

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