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The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

"Enigmatic outlaws navigate a perilous quest across apocalyptic England "

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Shortlisted for the Books for Older Readers category, Children's Book Awards 2022 | Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | April 2021 Book of the Month

Bravo to Jonathan Stroud! With its cast of charismatic characters and extraordinary world-building (think broken Britain with Wild West vibes), The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is an audacious firecracker. And, in even better news for fans of funny, inventive adventure fiction, this is but the beginning of what’s set to be an extraordinary series.


“Britain was a land of ruin…the country was maimed and broken - but full of strange fecundity and strength”. It’s also brimming with the likes of bears, wolves, flesh-eating spear-birds and gruesome cannibal creatures, all of which whip-smart, cuss-uttering Scarlett takes into her swaggering stride. She makes an unforgettable impression from the off: “A slight slim figure in a battered brown coat, weighed down with…all the paraphernalia of a girl who walked the Wilds.” After killing four grown men who’d tried to rob her, Scarlett struts into a bank and proceeds to hold it up (turns out she needs money to repay a debt).


On fleeing the scene, Scarlett finds a crashed bus, all its passengers dead but for a lone boy hiding in the toilet. Enter Albert Browne, “awkward, skinny and wide-mouthed, like a frightened skeleton”, and seemingly a piece of powdery chalk to Scarlett’s pungent cheese. Her scathing sarcasm (and Albert’s obliviousness to it) provides many a laugh: “You just holler if I get in your way,” she seethes as he admires a seed pod while she sets about making a fire, cooking a bird and establishing a camp for them, and all while they’re being pursued. But, for all his unworldliness, Albert turns out to have hidden talents. Sensing he might be of use to her after all, Scarlett agrees to help him accomplish his own mission. Albert wants to reach the Free Isles, remnants of London that “don’t have any restrictions on who you are or what you can do. They welcome people who are...different”, unlike the dictatorial High Council of the Faith Houses, which is “desperate to keep the old ways going”, and “on the watch for any kind of deviation.” Trouble is, as their respective pursuers close in, time and space is running out for our unforgettable outlaws.


What a story, what characters, and what a wait it will be until the second instalment. I defy any reader not to fall for Scarlett and Albert, and to become gasp-out-loud, laugh-out-loud invested in their quest.

Joanne Owen

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Reader Reviews

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This book was wonderfully written and the world was real enough to get inside. I felt like I was really on an adventure with the characters, and it was delightful.

I loved The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne. I think it was wonderfully written and the world was real enough to get inside. I felt like I was really on the adventure with Scarlett and Albert, and they were delightful characters to go on an adventure with.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to just escape and have some fun in another world for a while.... Read Full Review

Rachel Georhe

This book is so cool! I love that the girl rescues the boy instead of the other way around which usually happens.

I loved this book. It is split into parts and chapters, which makes it easy to pick up and put down, although I didn’t want to put it down at all!

The book is set in England after some huge disaster, most of the land is flooded or abandoned and there are only a few towns left, the rest is just wilderness.
Scarlett is a strong girl who travels on her own from town to town robbing banks. She is an expert shot and has excellent survival skills. On one trip across the wilderness she comes across a crashed abandoned bus, which she decides to ransack for anything useful. It is here that Albert Browne drops out of the toilet on top of her and so their unusual friendship begins.... Read Full Review

Lily O’Dwyer

A really exciting, but at times scary, adventure story. Set in a lawless, future Britain, the story can be pretty dark at times, but also funny.

I really liked this adventure story. It is not like anything that I have read before. (I had never even heard of Jonathan Stroud before reading this book.)

The story is set in a future Britain. Britain is now split up, lawless and has lots of strange, dangerous beasts roaming about in it.

The two main characters are Scarlett McCain, a bank robber, and mysterious, Albert Browne. They team up together to escape their enemies. The book can be quite dark at times, but sometimes a bit funny.... Read Full Review

Rob Anderson