The Quest for the Galleon of Time by Tanya Hunter

Reviewed by Rod McLary

There is nothing like a good adventure story to engage the hearts and minds of all those young readers who enjoy being transported to another world where the kids are the heroes.  Tanya Hunter in her debut novel delivers on this well and truly.

The story – combining adventure and magic – centres on eleven-year-old Tobias Crane.  It is 1738 and Tobias has just been told [or instructed] by his father that the next day he will start work on the Merry Maiden ‘and that’s the end of the matter’ [11].  Tobias doesn’t want to leave his young brother Matthew or his best friend ‘Climber’ Minchin but he has no choice.  The next morning, Tobias joins the crew of the Merry Maiden and meets Captain Tremaine and the First Mate Finian Smythe.  The First Mate is tough and shouts mean things at the young boys – like Tobias – who are on board to learn shipcraft.

Tobias is one of a group of boys which includes Albert, Abalone and Quinn.  All have back stories which are revealed as the story progresses; and Albert in particular has a secret which comes to light only because of an accident.

But there is more to the Merry Maiden than Tobias and his mates can imagine and they soon find out this ship has a double but one from the dark side.  Hades is the name of this ship and its captain Captain Ryker is the brother of Captain Tremaine.  Hades is a pirate ship and, because of a much earlier falling out with his brother, Ryker is determined to hunt him down and kill him – and capture his crew and sell them into slavery.  And to add a touch of magic to the story, there is a third ship – the Maria – a ghost ship and one that can travel through time.  It is captained by Captain Lisbon the third brother of Tremaine and Ryker but Lisbon is dead!  Hades and Maria both play important roles in Tobias’ story and their intervention changes Tobias’ life in ways he could not imagine.

There is much more to this story than can be captured in a review.  Sufficient to say that the pace of the story will ensure that all readers – even older readers – will remain engaged and eagerly awaiting the next chapter through the entire book.  In the best tradition of adventures, every chapter ends on a page-turning incident such as [at the end of chapter 25]: It cannot be!  Tobias thought to himself in shock [137].

It is a story of friendship and affection between the kids but also between the kids and the adults who provide guidance, support and nurturing to the kids who are a long way from their homes and families.  The kids themselves are courteous and respectful to the adults and to each other – excellent role models perhaps for modern children.  The story also allows for acts of bravery by the kids and Tobias in particular – as the hero of the novel – to demonstrate courage and leadership even when under attack.

The book is planned to be the first in a series – the later books, because the Maria is a time traveller, will be set in different time periods and locations but all with our young hero Tobias at their heart.

The Quest for the Galleon of Time is an enjoyable and exciting book – and one which would certainly appeal to middle grade children and younger teenagers.  Parents can be confident that this book will be a positive reading experience for all readers.

Tanya Hunter loves adventure stories – a love which began when she was a child in Nottingham England the home of Robin Hood.  She was once a primary school teacher and is now a police officer.

The Quest for the Galleon of Time

[2023]

by Tanya Hunter

MidnightSun Publishing

ISBN 978 192285 819 1

$17.99; 207pp

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