Friday, January 3, 2014


I have to admit I haven't read Nick Lake's Printz Award winning book IN DARKNESS, but after having picked up HOSTAGE THREE and devouring it in two days, I now know I must read IN DARKNESS as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

HOSTAGE THREE begins with a spoiled, rich girl getting kicked out of her A level exams mostly to see what kind of reaction she can get from her work obsessed father and the stepmother she believes he married all too soon after her mother's death.  What Amy Field didn't expect was that her banker father would buy a yacht and announce that the three of them (plus a few handy crew members) would be taking the next six months to sail around the world. 

In a few short weeks Amy finds herself on a  luxury sailboat traveling through the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea.  As she lounges on the sun deck working on her tan and listening to music, Amy recalls life with her clinically depressed, OCD mother.  There were good times and bad.  She remembers one amazing birthday surprise and their girls only trip to Mexico.  What she tries to forget are the panic attacks and the obsessive behaviors that often turned life into a nightmare.  Amy's most vivid memory, one she never shared with anyone, is of her mother's final phone call before she climbed to the top of her office building and jumped to her death.

Shortly after leaving the Red Sea, Somalian pirates seize the sailboat and begin organizing their demands for a ransom that will free Amy and her family and their crew.  What follows are weeks on the boat along with the pirates who refer to themselves as the South Central Coast Guard.  Amy struggles to understand how the men can so casually tote their guns and demand a ransom in exchange for human life.  One of the younger pirates speaks English quite well, and he and Amy begin to form a bond.  Although dangerous for both of them, they secretly seek each other out and slowly begin to share stories in an effort to make sense of their situation.

HOSTAGE THREE reveals the strange culture of modern day pirates one hears about on the news.  Author Nick Lake illustrates the desperation of an oppressed people in stark contrast to the often wasteful wealth seen in other parts of the world.  Readers will be riveted to Amy's story and eagerly turn the pages right to the exciting conclusion.

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