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Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons #8)

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,257 Ratings  ·  32 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)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,857)
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another excellent adventure with the crew of the Swallow including - finally - Bridgit aka Vicky (yaay) and the Amazons (three million cheers) and some new friends the Eeels (woo hoo)

Way back between the wars children had a lot more leeway to do stuff on their own including building fires and camping overnight for days on end without adult supervision. As usual it's based near water, this time the Walker children are "marooned" by their parents (holiday curtailed due to some important stuff at t
Jun 09, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2013 Kristine rated it did not like it
Shelves: juvenile, series
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
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,
Jan 01, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 19, 2012 Tim rated it liked it
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
Feb 25, 2011 Claire Haeg rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2013 Simon rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
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
Steve Johgart
Dec 20, 2015 Steve Johgart rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of sailing, kids' imaginations, England in the 1930's, and good writing
Recommended to Steve by: My mom
Book #8 in the Swallows & Amazon series. This book has less peril in it than most of the others - it is primarily focused on exploring and cartography and sailing and friendship and the wonderful imagination of children. Since I like exploring and cartography, and would find it fun to go on an expedition like the kids in the story, I enjoyed this book a lot. Just as I did when I first read it in fifth or sixth grade.
Dec 05, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2012 Richard Burton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, children
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
Jul 28, 2014 Simon Lucas rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2015 Claire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
Childhood favorite. I reread one from this series every Summer.
Mary Taitt
Sep 19, 2009 Mary Taitt rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 19, 2008 Grillables rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, fiction
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
May 18, 2010 David R. Godine rated it it was amazing
"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
Jun 03, 2015 Kate B rated it really liked it
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
Aug 25, 2008 M Wiegers rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 14, 2013 Lynne rated it really liked it
A healthy dose of Captain Nancy. Note that the presence of Commander Walker makes John an over-anxious, oddly goal-driven, almost killjoy explorer.
Jul 04, 2013 Melinda rated it it was amazing
Ah, if only all juvenile literature was this fun and literate!
My favorite Ransome book! Love it!
Oct 07, 2010 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Secret Water by Arthur Ransome (2001)
Read from October 06 to 07, 2010
Feb 25, 2011 Amyem added it
Shelves: own
I own a paperback and hardcover.

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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)
  • 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)

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