The Lion of Sole Bay by Julia Jones

The Lion of Sole Bay

Written by Julia Jones
Illustrated by Claudia Myatt
Part of the Strong Winds Series Series

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Selected by our Editorial Experts

One of our Books of the Year 2013.

December 2013 Book of the Month Inspired by the historical events of the Battle of Sole Bay which took place off the coast of Suffolk in 1672, author Julia Jones weaves a modern day adventure story, full of pace that will be enjoyed by young and old alike. It's half term and three teenagers find themselves caught up in what can only be described as one hell of a thriller that by turns is terrifying and yet also heart-warming. With a terrific storyline that can be read on different levels, it weaves historical fact into contemporary adventure, and hooks you in whatever your age and surprises you at every turn. The characters, both teenagers and adults, so disperate and yet so compellingly drawn that they work seamlessly together inspite of their differences and their different agendas within the story. A real tour de force that will be devoured whether you're a keen sailor, an armchair boat enthusiast or simply eager for entertainment. And the historical lectures at the end of the book are well worth a read either before or after reading the novel for they truly put the story into context.

Julia Jones is the author of the fantastic Strong Winds trilogy and some of the characters from these books feature in The Lion of Sole Bay....but you don't need to have read this trilogy first - The Lion of Sole Bay is very much a stand alone adventure story.

A note from the Author, Julia Jones, Essex 2013 Luke, who is the hero of this story, has already appeared in other titles in the Strong Winds series. This, however, is his own adventure and there’s no need for you to have read any of the previous books before you set out with him through the woods to the creek on the night of Halloween. Luke has lived in Suffolk all his life but, at the beginning of this story, he knows almost nothing about the Battle of Sole Bay which took place off the Suffolk coast in 1672. If you know as little as Luke (or as little as I did before I began my research) you might like to read the series of lectures contributed by our mutual friend Mr M.W. Vandervelde. They are at the back of this book and can be read at any time – or not at all. Mr Vandervelde is so full of enthusiasm for his subject that he admits he’s often given his talks to a row of chairs in an empty hall or even to his wife’s collection of garden gnomes. Suffolk people will notice that many of the places in this story are using older, alternative names. The tide times, stages of the moon and the weather in this story are correct (+ 24 hours) for October/November 2010.

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The Lion of Sole Bay by Julia Jones

There were heavy guns in the smoke behind the lion, a flash of steel and a crack of flame. People screamed and died. It would crush him if he didn't get away.

Luke plans to spend the autumn half term helping his father restore an old fishing boat at the top end of Fynn Creek. Angel craves excitement. Helen longs to go home. But this is Halloween. It’s the last week of the waning moon and nothing is quite as it seems.The three of them find themselves in the dark night of the North Sea threatened by violence in the present and from the past.

Julia Jones took inspiration for her story from research into the figurehead from a Dutch warship, the Stavoren. For the last three hundred years it has been used as a Suffolk pub sign, but once was the figurehead of the Stavoren as it sailed into battle with the Dutch fleet, with Dutch artisit Willen Van der Velde the Elder on board. Van der Velde's status as Europe's first official war artist isn't so well known but if you are interested in finding out more about this artisit visit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich which holds a number of his paintings.

About the Author

Julia Jones

The author on Peter Duck, the boat bought from Arthur Ransome

Julia Jones as a child, steering Peter Duck, the boat bought from Arthur Ramsome that inspired his classic Swallows and Amazons.

When Julia Jones was three years old her parents bought Peter Duck, Arthur Ransome’s former yacht. Julia slept in the place that had been designed for Ransome to store his typewriter and it wasn’t long before she was reading her way through the Swallows and Amazons series. Boats and books have been part of her life ever since. Julia Jones on the bridge of the OrwellAs an adult she founded and ran a village bookshop and developed a local publishing list for older readers. She became close friends with Joyce Allingham, sister of Essex detective novelist Margery Allingham, and has written and edited three biographical works connected with the Allingham family with the fourth, Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory, scheduled for publication in 2012. The Salt-Stained Book was her first novel for younger readers and is also enjoyed by adults. Followed up by A Ravelled Flag, the Strong Winds trilogy is concluded with Ghosting Home, out in July 2012. Julia has five children and lives in Essex and Suffolk with her partner, Francis Wheen. In 1999 they re-purchased Peter Duck.

CLICK HERE to read an article by Julia Jones, which was inspired in part by Arthur Ransome’s sailing adventures and in particular by Peter Duck, the boat which she was brought up on and which had previously been owned by Arthur Ransome.

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Book Info


288 pages


Julia Jones
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Golden Duck (UK) Ltd

Publication date

7th October 2013




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