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The Swallows are out on the water once again, this time in a bigger boat and on a bigger adventure than ever before
Arthur Ransome was born in Leeds in 1884. He had an adventurous life - as a baby in he was carried by his father to the top of the Old Man of Coniston, a peak that is 2,276ft high! He went to Russia in 1913 to study folklore and in 1914, at the start of World War I he became a foreign correspondent for the Daily News. In 1917 when the Russian Revolution began he became a journalist and was a special correspondent of the Guardian. He played chess with Lenin and married Trotsky's personal secretary, Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina. On their return to England, he bought a cottage near Windermere in the Lake District and began writing children's stories. In a 1958 author's note, Ransome wrote- 'I have been often asked how I came to write Swallows and Amazons. The answer is that it had its beginning long, long ago when, as children, my brother, my sisters and I spent most of our holidays on a farm at the south end of Coniston. We played in or on the lake or on the hills above . . . Going away from it we were half drowned in tears. While away from it, as children and as grown-ups, we dreamt about it. No matter where I was, wandering about the world, I used at night to look for the North Star and, in my mind's eye, could see the beloved sky-line of great hills beneath it. Swallows grew out of those old memories. I could not help writing it. It almost wrote itself.' He published the first of his children's classics, the twelve Swallows And Amazons books, in 1930. In 1936 he won the first ever Carnegie Medal for his book, Pigeon Post. He died in 1967.
"The seventh of the Arthur Ransome books about the Swallows and the Amazons, and I really think it is the best" * Sunday Times * "The most exciting of the whole Swallows and Amazon series" * New Statesman * "This book is Ransome at the top of his form" * Observer * "The book is a record of an uncovenanted voyage, which ended in Holland, of the rain and wind, the darkness and the wild water, the escapes from buoys and from ships crossing in the night, the courage and resource of the children" * Evening Standard * "Perhaps the best of all ... Just what does happen is told with all the wealth of practical detail and satisfying sense of reality which make Mr Ransome so unfailingly successful" * Punch *