All Retellings

 
 
Moby Dick
 

"There is a whale in the sea, as white as a ghost, and it haunts me. Sometimes, when I'm afloat in sleep, like a drowned sailor, he swims towards me--a nightmare all in white, jaws gaping, and I wake up screaming and salt-water wet with sweat. Somewhere out there in the bottomless oceans lives Moby Dick, a great white winter of a whale, and I shiver still at the thought of him."


In vivid and compelling language, Geraldine McCaughrean retells Herman Melville's classic story of the obsessed Captain Ahab and his relentless hunt for the great white whale, Moby Dick. Together with Starbuck, the mate; Queequeg, the harpoonist; the sinister crewman Fedallah; and the innocent narrator, Ishmael, Ahab travels the oceans of the world in pursuit of the elusive monster, braving waves like strips of volcanoes and lightning like the visitation of angels.


McCaughrean's text is beautifully complemented by Victor Ambrus's evocative pictures of ships and the sea and of the white monster, Moby Dick, a creature as vast and dangerous as the sea itself. Children and young adults will be thrilled and captivated by this wonderful adventure tale.

 

Published 1998, Oxford University Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

 

'Prose filled with rich, vivid, precise language shapes this retelling of Herman Melville's classic adventure of obsession. Without sacrificing the quality of the original, McCaughrean has created a shortened version of the tale that's filled with intriguing, finely drawn characters and the excitement of a dangerous quest on the high sea.... This is a beautifully cohesive volume that makes a classic tale accessible without diminishing it.'

-School Library Journal 

 

 


 

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Fire's Astonishment
 

Both adventure and love story, Fires Astonishment is violent and tender, utterly beguiling. Subtly witty, a fast moving, multi-stranded story whose resolution is uncertain to the very last moment. 

 

Published 1991, Minerva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

 

''Definitely adult fun, the writing gutsy, vivid and economical, the observation shrewd... an exceptionally well written, spirit-lifting good read.'

-Independent on Sunday 

 

'Written in a brisk,concrete, yet elegant style, the sort of prose that would be a pleasure to read for its own sake'. 

- Guardian

 

'Her prose is elegant, powerful, witty; and this book must surely be amongst her most accomplished.'

- Awfully Big Blog Adventure Reviews

 

 

 


 

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Vainglory
 

Vainglory is a sumptious tale of obsessive love, chivalry and ambition, set in fifteenth-century France, centred upon the beautiful Chateau Gloriole and five turbulent generations of its lords and ladies.

 

Published 1991, Jonathan Cape

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

 

'This is a saga with a difference...such invigorating little drops of satire.' 

-Sunday Times

 

'It is a model of how this sort of thing should be done.' 

- Daily Telegraph

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Shortlisted for the 2013 UKLA Children's Book Award

 
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Lovesong
 

Lovesong is an outstanding historical saga, at once a gripping narrative and provoking novel of ideas... a massive landscape full of extraordinary characters in a world shaped by art, religion and war.

 

Published 1996, Richard Cohen Books Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

 

'Probably the best historical novel I have ever read'

- Philippa Gregory, Sunday Times

 

'McCaughrean... is well on her way to becoming one of the few great novelists to adorn our age.'

- David Hughes, Mail on Sunday

 
The Ideal Wife
 

An extraordinary novel about the ordinary spiralling out of control. Robin Wooton decides to create the perfect wife by "educating" two foundling girls, selecting the one that conforms to his Rousseauian ideals to be his bride. However he is slow to make his choice, while the girls compete for him with increasingly desperate rivalry. McCaughrean brings 1790s England vividly to life, her unique humour and powers of characterisation evoking a hardyesque back drop to a timeless drama. 

 

Published 1997 Richard Cohen Books Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

 

'A fine historical novel, emotionally absorbing and thought provoking as any in a contemporary setting. McCaughrean's writing is a pleasure to read.'

- Phillipa Gregory, Sunday Times.  

 

'In a strong, fast flowing narrative McCaughrean ... brings the 1790s vibrantly to life.'

-     Gillian Fairchild, Daily Telegraph

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