The Dark Frigate
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The Dark Frigate

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  977 ratings  ·  133 reviews
1923. Illustrated. Wherein is told the story of Philip Marsham who lived in the time of King Charles and was bred a sailor but came home to England after many hazards by sea and land and fought for the King at Newbury and lost a great inheritance and departed for Barbados in the same ship, by curious chance, in which he had long before adventured with the pirates.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published March 1st 1901)
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I believe the correct phrase is "a rollicking good yarn."
mitchell dwyer
As of March 27, 2008, I have now read (and collected data from) something like seventy of the eighty-eight winners of the Newbery Medal. When I set out to read them all, I dreaded the older books, for it was my impression that the early honorees were "good for you" books, and not necessarily good literature. For the most part, this has proven true (See Ginger Pye, Smoky the Cow Horse, Miss Hickory, and Invincible Louisa.

How pleasantly surprised I was by Charles Boardman Hawes's The Dark Frig...more
The story was OK, especially in the middle, but I can only assume the Committee was looking for something very different in its early years. Other reviewers seemed to find the prose clear and lyrical; I thought it was unnecessarily dense and convoluted.
The third Newbery winner, this is a pirate tale set in the days just before the English Civil Wars. Philip Marsham sets off to sea, and the ship is overtaken by pirates. Marsham must sail with them for a while, then escapes only to be captured and tried with the crew.

It's an interesting book for the historical detail (down to the rather hard to follow speech and arcane vocabulary) and for Hawes' unwillingness to be trite or shallow: some characters loom large and then fade away, as in life, and...more
Aimee Conner
My biggest fear right now as I write about these books, is that I will maintain and perhaps expand my reputation as a whiner. I don’t WANT to whine, but I cannot praise this book. My kids can praise it, I think. I was so busy reading it (or trying to) that they got lots of extra computer time in order for me to bribe them into leaving me alone. Gotta watch that in the future. I’m trying to be a role model here.

The reviews I read were good and encouraging: a sea-faring yarn complete with pirates...more
1924 Newbery Medal Winner. The Dark Frigate is my third Newbery Medal book as I attempt to read my way through them all from the first. It is a historical fiction set around the time of the English civil war about a 19 your old boy, Philip Marsham, who gets caught up with pirates. I must admit that I had a rough start of it. First I could not find a kindle edition, so I got a free audible trial. I am not used to being read to, and sometimes my ears don't hear well. Combine this with the older an...more
The son of a pirate-type goes sailing across the sea, encounters various men of honor and dishonor, survives more than a few scrapes with death, and in so doing becomes a man. There. The Dark Frigate in a nutshell.

It isn't much to say that I liked the story better than my fellow readers. It was a long read and a somewhat pieced together story with a few highlights here and there. I got my hopes up in chapter 6 when Hawes introduced some lovely forboding descriptions of The Rose of Devon (the pi...more
Great adventure book for lovers of Treasure Island and Pirates of Caribbean. Especially if you like well researched Historical fiction along the lines of Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe's" series or C.S. Forester's "Hornblower" series. Unfortunately for this book, todays young readers are much more interested in a direct story then in beautifully crafted language. Also, the in depth knowledge of 17th century sailing vessels left me needing an glossary or schematic - A glossary of language terms would...more
Full of adventure and swash-buckling pirates! (What is a "swash" and what is it "buckled" to?) The writing is very dry and rambles along, but the plot swings forward merrily. The characters are colorful, but also dry. We never really get to know their insides, except for the main character, Philip. We do see more of his thoughts, feelings, and intentions than any of the others.

The action picks up more towards the middle and end, and I was on the edge of my seat for awhile. I was surprised that s...more
I read this on as part of a project to read all of the Newbery award winners. This one won in 1924.
I actually liked this one for the most part. It's a little slow to start, which I think could turn modern kids off of the book, but for a book aimed at kids/young adults it offers a somewhat unflinching look at pirates. Turns out most of them aren't good people. I will also say that this is going to test any young person's reading skills, as it uses some obscure terms for things and doesn't bother...more
I really tried, but I only managed to make it about a third of the way through the book before I lost interest. Maybe if I had stayed with it until after the pirates I would have liked it more, but I couldn't bring myself to pick it up again when there were better things to read. The nautical terms completely left me high and dry (get it?) and I was totally at sea (I did it again) with the rest of the vocabulary and sentence structure. I'm hoping in the 1920's when this book won the Newbery that...more
90 1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes (Little, Brown)

Oct. 13, 2013 247 pages

This book may only have been 247 pages, but it felt much longer. There was lots of unfamiliar boating terminology and lots of sentence structure which is today uncommon. It was not a fun read. It did not have lots of meaning and it shared uncomfortably cruel means of punishment. I don't think it is appropriate for elementary kids nor middle school kids because of reading level and subject matter. I have my doubts ab...more
This was my least favorite Newbery I have read so far…

I have absolutely no interest in ships, sea-faring, or pirates, which were the topics of this obviously well-researched historical fiction Newbery, awarded in 1924. I am also not a fan of violence for any age, especially children. One of the reasons that Hawes wrote this book was to de-romanticize pirates—this in 1924! I hope that the murders, betrayals, thefts, torture, and general difficulties of the pirate life-style helped Hawes achieve h...more
The story wasn't bad--even exciting in places--but the main character sometimes felt like a cardboard cutout who just blew along with the plot. He rarely did much or even showed a reaction to what was going on. Apparently he got through life on the basis of his charisma, but since he doesn't actually do much that seems charismatic, I have to assume it was because the other characters liked the looks of him (as the author often said). I actually forgot his name at one point. So, pretty good, pira...more
What do drunken sailors, flirtatious wenches, thick Scottish brogues, slow plots, slashed necks, pirate battles, and hangings have in common with children's literature?

Good question. I think I would be lynched if I tried to have my students read this book.

If the book were designed for adults, I think I'd give it 2 stars. There were some funny parts that I did enjoy, and I did find some of the chapters entertaining once I got into the "hang" of the archaic style of writing. But the plot moved so...more
I didn't read this as a kid. I had never even heard of it until I found it on Amazon on a list of Newberry winners. So I will have to look on this as an adult.

I love seafaring tales, a genre that I don't come across too often, so I was kind of excited about this one. Overall, I wasn't disappointed. It started out pretty slowly, and it took a while to get use to the language, but one on ship, it was very entertaining. I loved how the pirates were actually bad. There was no sugar coating, and I fe...more
Wayne S.
In seventeenth-century England, nineteen-year-old Philip Marsham’s mother had died when he was young, and his ship captain father Thomas raised him on the sea. Philip would have been with his father when Thomas’s ship went down and he was lost, but the son had become ill and was being nursed in London by his father’s hopeful fiancée Moll Stevens. But an unfortunate accident forces him to flee London. He meets up with a couple of sailors headed for a ship at Bideford, and Philip goes with them. A...more
Andrew Lasher
I made the mistake of thinking that because this was awarded a Newbery Medal it would be good for my middle school students. Big mistake. However, the mistake was mine, not the book's. I should have realized that a book written in 1924 wouldn't use the same writing style as books today.

Because of that, The Dark Frigate bombed in my book club. It is just downright hard to read. That being said, the book contains an excellent story as long as you are willing to dig for it. The writing is hard to u...more
This book brought me back to my days in school when I suffered through reading something miserable just so I could be rewarded for my efforts with a lengthy essay test on it. I felt that same clenching in my chest, a literary claustrophobia that made me squirm, begging my inner self to “accidentally” turn a bunch of pages instead of just one when I got to the bottom. I only read this book as part of my quest to read all the Newbery Medal winners. I can see how others might enjoy this adventure t...more
1924 Newbery Medal Winner

I was intrigued about reading this book. I was looking for a copy of it online, thinking it might be old enough to be public domain (it's not, a few years and it will be). My husband happened to find some reviews of it with parents saying they wouldn't let their children read it because of the violence in the book. Made me want to read it even more.

I will first say that the English in the book is written in an older style. Even though this book is almost a century old, i...more
Finally done with this after several temptations of giving up on it.. I like the classic style of writing but I find the plot so boring and predictable. I think the author failed to elaborate on the climax because of its very slow development. The book was more interesting toward the end but it was cramp in few pages.
For a good point though, I like the villain, Tom Jordan, the Old One at the end of the story for his honor (if that's what you call it) and composure. He deserved his fate but I wou...more
Lena Hillbrand
Oct 20, 2011 Lena Hillbrand rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: see review
Shelves: award-winners
Half a year after I started this book...I finished! One of the many books on my list of Newberry Winners, this one was not my usual 'cup o' tea' but it was an interesting read. It was very authentic feelings, or as authentic as a sailor book without swearing can be! The language was a little dense and it was definitely not a fast and easy book to breeze through like the more recent Newberry winners. I appreciated that about it.
The characters were interesting enough, and I really liked how the a...more
The Dark Frigate, which won the Newbery Award in 1923, is of the “pirate adventure” genre. It is not bad by any means, but it seems kind of an odd choice. The Dark Frigate is a little like Treasure Island without the fun – and a little like Patrick O’Brien without the charm.

Its style is quite old-fashioned. The characters all speak in “Shakespearean” terms, reminiscent of the way 19th century authors (like Stevenson or Scott) rendered old-timey speech. There’s a lot of “Prithee! Verily thou have...more
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The other John
From my earliest days, I have had a taste for science fiction. To me, adventure equaled hopping in one's spaceship and blasting off for distant worlds. As I grew older and became aware of other genres of fiction, I gained a vague awareness that the plot of a typical space opera could easily be rewritten--to fit another genre, to be set in the Wild West or on the open seas. I never had an interest in experiencing those other genres, however. The few snatches of westerns or pirate swashbucklers I...more
I had to take this book back to the library for a few months. I came back to it only after I had almost completely finished the Newbery winner list. I thought maybe after a few months it wouldn't be as tedious a read as I remembered, but no, it was. And unexpectedly violent in parts.

"...there are times when it takes death to maintain the discipline that will save many lives."

Here's an example of the length of some of the author's sentences. I like the description, but it's incredibly long.
I vacillate between 1 and 2 stars for this. There is no character development and the "adventure" plot line fails to make up for this. The language is overwrought and needlessly complicated, though there are a lot of great insults in the text. However, the author also backs away from glamorizing piracy, painting a slightly more complicated picture. Basically, though, just read the subtitle. It'll tell you everything that happened in the book and save you the time of reading this.
This tale of adventure on the high seas is a rousing tale for teens. Set in 17th century England our young hero, orphan Philip Marsham must flee London in fear for his life. His father was a sailor so he decides to head to the sea. He signs on the "Rose of Devon" a dark frigate bound for Newfoundland. The story does take some time to get "underway" and into the action as we follow Philip on his walk to the sea, but he does meet some of his fellow shipmates along the way. Once aboard ship the sto...more
I enjoyed this book, but I don't know that I would recommend it. The language is very old and there are alot of references to nautical terms - mizzenmast, foresail, etc. But I am able to skim through those things and just enjoy the story. It reminded me of the Horatio Hornblower series of books, which I also enjoyed. However, I would never recommend this book to children. Children in the 1920's must have been very different from the children of today for this to win a Newbery award.
For a Newbery Award winner, this book from the 1920s is a rather dark book, full of technical and time-specific jargon. I have read a number of period-piece sailing books (that I have enjoyed) and found this one to be quite challenging. It was slow to start and only picked up in the concluding chapters. As children's literature (12 and up according to the back of the book), it was surprisingly violent (murders, stabbings, torture, and other violent pirate doings)! I was expecting a rather thrill...more
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Children's Books: Winner (no Honors) from 1924 7 56 Nov 29, 2013 06:31PM  
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Charles Boardman Hawes was an American author. He was posthumously awarded the 1924 Newbery Medal for The Dark Frigate (1923). Additionally, The Great Quest (1921) was a 1922 Newbery Honor book.
More about Charles Boardman Hawes...
The Great Quest The Mutineers: A Tale of Old Days at Sea and of Adventures in the Far East Classics Illustrated 132 of 169 : The Dark Frigate Classics Illustrated 122 of 169 : The Mutineers Gloucester By Land And Sea

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