|US Cover Artist:||Michael Koelsch|
|UK Cover Artist:||David Wyatt|
|Read a sample from Amazon|
It is made up of three "books," detailing the origins of Ben and Ned and their adventures in Chapelvale.
Book Divisions (English)
- Book 1: The Ship
- Book 2: The Shepherd
- Book 3: The Village
A mute teenage boy runs from his father and stepbrothers. When he arrives at the edge of a waterway, the boy has nowhere to run, and is captured by his brothers. One of them accidentally pushes him into the water and it appears as if he could drown, but with the small amount of strength he has left, the boy climbs aboard the Flying Dutchman.
On the ship he is forced to become a galley slave for the Petros the cook, who calls him by the name Nebuchadnezzar or Neb for short. While at the port of Esbjerg, Denmark, Neb finds a dog, to whom he shows kindness. The dog stays with him and becomes his companion; Neb names the dog Denmark, after the port of call.
At sea, three deckhands, Scraggs, Jamil and Sindh, start to plot a mutiny. Neb knows of this, but is powerless to do anything about it due to his inability to speak. One night, as they go to kill the captain, Neb and Denmark leap at them. With the captain's help, they manage to stop the mutineers.
As the voyage continues, the Flying Dutchman begins running short of food. Far from any port, they seem powerless to stop their fate of slow starvation. The weather worsens, and the crew becomes unable to go backward or forward.
As the last of the food supply gives out, the weather suddenly calms, as if a joke was being played on the starving sailors. Captain Vanderdecken begins hurling curses toward the Lord. Suddenly, an Angel appears and condemns the Flying Dutchman to forever sail the seas, with none of the crew, even the drowned and hung, to be spared.
Neb and Denmark (shortened to Den), due to their purity of heart, are freed to wander the world, doing good and never growing older. To help in their quest, they are given the ability to communicate telepathically, and Neb is given the ability to speak in any language.
Neb and Den spend time with Luis the Shepherd on Tierra Del Fuego, where the pair washed up after the storm. While there, Neb learns to speak Spanish, and Den learns to communicate telepathically better.
After three years pass, a vicious storm hits Tierra Del Fuego. As Luis chases after his sheep, he falls off a high cliff. Neb carries Luis back to their hut, but Luis eventually dies from the injuries. The Angel appears again and tells Neb and Den that they must leave at the sound of a bell. A ram's bell brings the Angel's message, and the two friends head away.
273 years later, Neb and Den have reversed their names, now going by Ben and Ned. Together, they have wandered the world, doing good deeds. They come to an English town called Chapelvale in 1896 by rail.
Once there, they go out into the country, trying to find a barn in which to spend the night. They meet Winifred Winn, and Ned scares a local gang of bullies from attacking her. She offers to shelter the two, and they accept.
While on a trip to the town, Ben visits the Evans Tea Shoppe and meets Alex and Amelia Somers. As he travels through the town, Winnie tells him that the town is scheduled to be torn down in slightly more than a week to make room for a cement factory. Although her ancestor was legally granted the village, the deeds of ownership were lost. Ben and Ned realize that this is the reason the Angel sent them to the village.
When the pair arrive back at the house, they search for clues in the rooms. In the room of Winnie's dead husband, they find an old family Bible. In the binding of the book is a piece of paper, with the cryptic words "re keep safe for the house of Winn thy treasure" and two holes. Ben puts it in his pocket, although he does not understand the meaning.
When Ben travels back into the town, he meets Alex and Amelia again. They warn him not to go past a church where a mad professor lives, and Ben decides to take look anyway. He knocks on the door, but is frightened by the sound of a double-barreled shotgun being cocked.
Ben sneaks around the side of the church, where he becomes aware of the fact that the sound is not a shotgun being cocked, but instead a toy frog being clicked. He befriends the professor, Jonathan Preston, by helping him remember the rest of a sailing song. Preston shows Ben apiece of paper similar to Ben's, which started the search for the hidden deeds.
When the deeds are found it is revealed that the Winn family owns, not only Chapelvale, but much of the area surrounding it.
Later, Winnie's son Jim decides to move back to Chapelvale with his family.
- 2001, US, Philomel Books, ISBN 9780399236013, Pub. Date: March 2001, Hardcover
- 2002, US, Ace, ISBN 9780441009145, Pub. Date: February 2002, Paperback
- 2002, UK, Puffin Books, ISBN 0141312114, Pub. Date: March 2002, Paperback
- 2003, US, Puffin, ISBN 9780142501184, Pub. Date: March 2003, Paperback
|Books in the Castaways series, by Brian Jacques|
|Castaways of the Flying Dutchman||The Angel's Command||Voyage of Slaves|