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Go Saddle the Sea (Felix Brooke, #1)
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Go Saddle the Sea (Felix Brooke #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  374 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Felix Brooke, the orphaned son of an English soldier and an aristocratic Spanish mother, has been raised in the strict, loveless household of his grandfather in Villaverde, Spain. When Felix gains possession of a letter that contains a clue to the whereabouts of his father’s family, he gladly runs away from home to pursue the trail. His journey from Spain to far-off Englan ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published November 1st 1977)
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Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
The first in a series of three: Bridle the Wind come next, and The Teeth of the Gale concludes the series. I especially loved the main character in this first book--so delightfully naughty. I love the way Aiken never backs away from throwing her characters in the very worst possible circumstances, and then gets them out of trouble in the most creative ways, usually by putting them in even worse situations than before, which sometimes hardly seems possible. The only reason I didn't give this five ...more
This is the first book of an excellent YA historical fiction (with a touch of fantasy) trilogy, just as exciting and fast-paced as I expected from Aiken. The orphaned son of an English soldier and a Spanish noblewoman, Felix has been raised in his grandfather's stern household in Spain, the only love he has known given him by the cook, Bernardina. On her deathbed, she gives him some of his father's possessions, including a mysterious letter which sets him off on a quest to find his heritage; alo ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aiken, adventure
Twelve-year-old Felix Brooke, ill-treated at home in Northwest Spain, resolves to travel to England to find out the truth about his father. Thus begins a young adult novel, set after the Peninsular Wars in the early 19th century, that is enjoyable both on its own merits but also for its many references, influences and intricacies. Joan Aiken wrote this after field trips to Galicia and her careful research and attention to detail add weight to the seeming authenticity of the story told by its you ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So I read this series 100% out of order and finished up with the first book. WOW! It is thoroughly delightful, just like the second book, BRIDLE THE WIND.

Felix jumps off the page as a likable, authentic kid dealing with crazy family dynamics and dangerous plot twists. He's not a saint, but he's full of heart and very good with his instincts. I love that the book portrays traveling in such an interesting but not sugarcoated way. There are complex morality lessons which are presented in a very ac
This is a great adventure book for middle-grade kids . . . and for me. I really enjoyed it :-) Felix is a headstrong boy who runs away from his grandfather's home, has many hair-raising adventures, and learns important lessons along the way.
I wouldn't call this story realistic, but it is well researched and a lot of fun!
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars. I read every Joan Aiken book I could find when I was 10-12 years old. 'The Wolves of Willoughby Chase' had me hooked and looking for more. I can't say I remember much beyond that first book (it has been over 30 years), so when this one was in a box of books, I grabbed it. Felix runs into quite a bit of trouble and adventure, but when you are on a road trip with low funds that is not too inconceivable. He is extraordinarily lucky though. Even though it is geared towards children (at ...more
This was completely different from what I'd expected. A fabulous adventure, and the main character (a Spanish-reared lad of 12) was really rather an unusual hero, being such a fabulous mix of vulnerable, fearless and resourceful, quite unlike anything English, Australian or American we have come to expect. The story-telling voice was of the time, so only confident tweens would get into it. (I'm not sure my kids of 10 and 11 would manage it, being more drawn to a contemporary voice.) Once into it ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
This book was OK. Boy goes off on a journey, has a little adventure in each place he stops along the way.
I wanted to like it more than I did, not sure what put me off it. Maybe just the style, or the unrealism of the situations and solutions? It's not just me, I gave the book to my mum and she didn't finish it.
There are some good characters, and the sea journey towards the end was very exciting. But overall I found myself stubbornly reading on to see what happened in the end rather than for the
Go Saddle the Sea is standard Joan Aiken. It features a plucky young hero who journeys about righting wrongs, encountering bumbling adults, making friends etc. Felix Brooke is half-English, half-Spanish 11-year-old, living with his hateful relations in Spain. Deciding to chuck it all, he runs away, hoping to find his father’s family in England. Along the way he encounters bumbling adults, makes friends, rights wrongs, etc. In the end, family secrets are revealed and Felix begins a new, better li ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-ya
Felix sets out from his unhappy home in northern Spain to travel to England in search of his father's family with nothing more than a handful of words deciphered from his Father's unreadable letter. With only a stubborn mule for company he crosses the mountains and has one adventure after another, with only his wits and ingenuity and a talent for music to win him through. From feuding villages to trapped oxen to a forbidden duel, from jail to a strange mountain village to danger on the sea, this ...more
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
A picaresque novel for children, packed with incident and daring deeds. Though some of the luck and kindness the main character encounters may seem unlikely to the reader, as well as the unlikelihood of his various schemes, this is still a very enjoyable and exciting novel that I would recommend to anyone who likes adventure. Aiken's understanding of the individual and the details she uses to evoke 19th century Spain help to elevate this beyond the level of a Boy's Own type of story into a compe ...more
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Terrific book. Exciting from start to finish. I'm going to read it again because I enjoyed it so much. Felix runs away from home and his strict grandfather, grandmother, and tutor. He knows his father's side of the family is from England so he plans to travel across Spain to get on a ship that will take him to England. Not everything goes as planned and he almost dies at the beginning of his journey from a foolish mistake. Along the way he meets people and helps them. There is also a plot agains ...more
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book! It started out a little slow and the main character's motivation in a couple of instances was a little juvenile, but then again this is a kid's book! By the end of the story I had really become invested in the character. He developed nicely and his relationships with other characters were also realistic and well developed.

I have the sequels on my list of "must read SOON!"
May 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I actually could give this a 5- maybe I'll change it...Such a great adventure book, and no science fiction (not that I'm a hater, the field is just SO saturated with non-reality right now and I've kind-of lost interest). It's not the easiest kids read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it- have already read the 2nd book as well and am waiting for the last one to be available at the library.

Just changed it to a 5. I was looking at the books I rated 4, and realized I liked it more than most of those.
Maureen E
Felix is the half-English grandson of a Spanish aristocrat. His mother died when he was born and his family scorns him. With his two friends and protectors in the household dead, he sets out for England to find his father’s family. I was honestly surprised by the major twist in the story. But I had a hard time believing it. Still, Aiken’s characters are vivid enough that I might keep reading (apparently it’s a trilogy). [Feb. 2010]
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Felix, a twelve-year-old boy, lives in his grandfather's house in Spain. He is unloved, other than by the cook. When she dies early in the book, Felix sets out alone on a mule to find his mother's family in England. Along the way he experiences exciting and sometimes terrifying adventures, meets some delightful people, and learns a great deal about the world.

This is really a book for younger teenagers, but it's extremely well-written and makes an excellent read-aloud book.
Dayna Smith
The first book in a new trilogy. Felix is the orphan son of a Spanish aristocrat and an English soldier. When he discovers a clue to the location of his father's family in England he decides to secretly leave his grandfather's home in Spain and travel to England to locate his father's family. Boys will enjoy this story.
Kristen Smith
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was fine reading and writing. Lots of adventures and action. Few slow moments. Reminded me of the fairytales where the younger son sets out to seek his fortune and, because he helps others on the way, finds help when he needs it most. 8 and older. Hardly historical fiction--rather an action novel set in an historical time period.
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This author has a mastery of authentic nineteenth century language reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. And in fact the author's sister Jane Aiken Hodge wrote a biography of Heyer. Good pace, a rather unlikely ending, must read the next two in the series.
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I must have read these books at exactly the right age, as they're still my favourite Aiken novels. Of the three, though, this is probably my least favourite: it's a bit episodic, but then again that's a fairly accurate reflection of the sort of picaresque fiction which evidently inspired it.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
eh, tolerable. not one of my favorites.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. I read it as a child and it's just as good now.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
The characters are quirky, delightful, and fascinating! And the setting is so rich historically and geographically. Love this whole series!
Clover White
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love Joan Aiken melodrama.
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the 1st part of Joan Aiken's 'Felix Brook' trilogy.
A fast moving, exciting historical story for children or young teens.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2014
Really fun adventure story for boys - somewhat reminiscent of Treasure Island although the plot is much more fanciful and morality prone.
Fun adventure, though a lot of the coincidences or good fortune were a little too convenient for my taste. Still, an enjoyable read.
Ben Chenoweth
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an action-packed, fast-paced novel, with engaging characters and dastardly villains. In other words, a typical Joan Aiken story!
Anthony Faber
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Felix Brooke #1. A YA book. Felix runs away from his Spanish grandfather's house to go to his English father's relations, and manages to save the day everywhere he goes. It's a good read, though.
Becky Jungmann
rated it liked it
Jun 29, 2013
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Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE has been in print for over 50 years with a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and unforgettable short stories.
NEW COLLECTION 2016 - The People in The Castle https://www.goodread
More about Joan Aiken...

Other Books in the Series

Felix Brooke (3 books)
  • Bridle the Wind (Felix Brooke, #2)
  • The Teeth of the Gale (Felix Brooke, #3)