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The Picts & the Martyrs Friendship, resourcefulness, and sailing, too Arthur Ransome s Swallows and s series has stood the test of time More than just great stories, each one celebrates independence and initiative with a colorful, large cast of charactersIn The Picts the Martyrs , those two Blackett sisters are back at it again, and Nancy is right there in the thick of it Their mother doubtless suffering from exhaustion has gone off sailing in the North Sea with Captain Flint on a rest cure, but she has allowed her two daughters to stay a fortnight at Beckfoot on the lakeshore with their trusty cook She s also permitted their two old friends, Dick and Dorothea Callum, to come up for a visit But when their redoubtable Great Aunt aka G A hears of their abandonment, she s horrified and off on the next trainThe s are dismayed not only will their solo holiday be ruined but now they ll have to hide their two guests in the woods in an abandoned shepherd s cottage where they ll be forced to live off the land like savages, ergo The Picts while they ll be required to dress up in white pinafores, practice the pianoforte, and recite reams of parlor poetry aloud ergo The MartyrsThe entire Swallows and s series is for children or grownups, anyone captivated by a world of adventure and imagination, exploring and setting sail


About the Author: Arthur Ransome

Arthur Michell Ransome was an English author and journalist He was 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 artistic scene and his first significant book.An interest in folklore, together with a desire to escape an unhappy first marriage, led Ransome to St Petersburg, where he was ideally placed to observe and report on the Russian Revolution He knew many of the leading Bolsheviks, including Lenin, Radek, Trotsky and the latter s secretary, Evgenia Shvelpina These contacts led to persistent but unproven accusations that he spied for both the Bolsheviks and Britain.Ransome married Evgenia and returned to England in 1924 Settling in the Lake District, he spent the late 1920s as a foreign correspondent and highly respected angling columnist for the Manchester Guardian, before settling down to write Swallows and s and its successors.Today Ransome is best known for his Swallows and s series of novels, 1931 1947 All remain in print and have been widely translated.Arthur Ransome died in June 1967 and is buried at Rusland in the Lake District.



10 thoughts on “The Picts & the Martyrs

  1. Deborah Deborah says:

    Apparently Evgenia, Mrs Ransome, didn t like this one at all I really can t understand why this is probably my favourite of the series, even though it lacks the Swallows Perfectly paced, beautifully plotted, and back in the Lakes What s not to like I have also always thought that this is the one that o


  2. Susan Susan says:

    In the next book of the series, s Nancy and Peggy are very excited to have been left on their own at home along with guests Dorothy and Dick But when the dreaded Great Aunt hears the news, she decides her presence is required, and the s come up with an unlikely scheme to keep her happy and to hide their guests


  3. Emma Turner Emma Turner says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I just finished re reading this book and it is one of my favourites from Ransome s world In my opinion, this book shows Ransome s gift for characterisation at its best.The themes are gentle but so entertaining and well written The number of


  4. Tena Edlin Tena Edlin says:

    I just love this whole series of books I wish I had grown up with them, but at least I ve found them as an adult My fianc read me this one out loud, and his G.A voice is just the best.


  5. Olivia Olivia says:

    Do you really think she is going to make it very awful said Dorothea Pretty awful, I expect, said Peggy She usually does Dick, Dorothea, and the s expect a blissful time of adventures and sailing while Nancy and Peggy s Mother and Uncle Jim are away, but when the s GA Great Aunt decides she needs to come to oversea things, all their hope


  6. Simon Simon says:

    Not the very best of his books but better than most that other people write He has a magical gift for taking you there, showing you the world though the eyes of people you are nothing like except I hope, in kindness, concern and a lively interest in the natural world , interesting you in things that might otherwise pass you by, and bringing it al


  7. Tom Tom says:

    Not sure why I keep going back and re re reading Arthur Ransome s kid s books because they re good I guess They re set in the English Lake Country mostly in the 1920s I think and the adventures revolve around sailing and camping In this one, a horrible old maiden aunt makes trouble for the kids, and they in turn plot deviously to foil her It s not my abso


  8. Nick Nick says:

    This may be the most fun of all the Swallows and s books We miss the original fam of John and Susan and Roger and Titty, but good fun is had by Dick and Dot, and of course Peggy and Nancy, and a jolly cast of other characters, most notably including the dreaded Great Aunt, or GA, whose long shadow of fear covers nine tenths of the book Arthur Ransome is one of the


  9. Kate H Kate H says:

    Growing up the Swallows and s series by Arthur Ransome was one of my favorite series When I decided to re read it as an adult I was worried that it would not stand the test of time I was delighted to find that in general found it just as enjoyable now as I did as a child The characters, writing style and adventures are great and I truly enjoyed the series.


  10. Gavin Felgate Gavin Felgate says:

    This is the penultimate full Swallows and s novel by Arthur Ransome, and revolves around Nancy, Peggy, Dick and Dorothea The Swallows do not appear at all, although they are mentioned frequently it also is evident that they are about to visit at the end, presumably a set up for the next book.Nancy and Peggys great aunt has been mentioned in at least one previous book, but has not b


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