Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons, #8)” as Want to Read:
Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons, #8)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons #8)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  995 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In the eighth book in Arthur Ransome's beloved Swallows and Amazons series, the five Walker children are left on a "desert island" by their parents with provisions for a long stay and a blank map to fill in. Like all of Ransome's books, this is at once a real adventure and a lesson in the practicalities of exploring - in this case, of surveying the inlets, coves, mudflats,...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by David R Godine (first published 1939)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Secret Water, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Secret Water

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,411)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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,...more
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...more
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!
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
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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.

One of the best things about these books is their pacing. Ransome manages to capture the way that a short period of time can seem to expand and become full to bursting. Each book takes place over only a few day's time, though each seems like more adventure than most get in a whole year.

As Calvin said, the days are just packed.
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
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!
Secret Water by Arthur Ransome (2001)
Feb 25, 2011 Amyem added it
Shelves: own
I own a paperback and hardcover.

milou marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 47 48 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Exiles at Home (The Exiles, #2)
  • The River at Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #3)
  • The Children of the New Forest
  • South Sea Adventure
  • The Chalet Girls in Camp (The Chalet School, #8)
  • Thursday's Child
  • The Edge of the Cloud (Flambards, #2)
  • The Story of the Treasure Seekers (Bastable Children, #1)
  • Linnets and Valerians
  • First Term at Trebizon (Trebizon, #1)
  • The Family from One End Street: And Some of Their Adventures
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
More about Arthur Ransome...
Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1) 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)

Share This Book