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Outlaw in India by Philip Roy
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Outlaw in India is Philip Roy's fifth novel in the Submarine Outlaw series. Roy's fourth novel in the series, (Ghosts of the Pacific), may well be my favourite, but Outlaw in India really deserves first prize for being the most well-written. I said before that Roy's writing improves with each new book in the series, and Outlaw in India is really a case in point. And it is a truly beautiful tale, too, filled with life lessons and a journey that is quite memorable (even months after finishing the story with my kids.) Roy has created probably the most enduring character in the series yet, (aside from Alfred, Ziegfried, and Sheba, of course), through a ten-year-old Untouchable Indian boy named Radji. Radji is sweet and intelligent, and Roy examines the racism of the caste system in India quite deftly, with admirable sensitivity, empathy and awareness. My kids were astonished by what they learned about racism through this novel. This is probably also the novel in which Al grows the most as a human being. So the book offers a parallel journey of sorts to the reader--a real gift! My kids and I are eager to read the next book in the series--Seas of South Africa. I hear it will be coming out this summer (2013). We'll definitely be ordering the book in advance, as soon as we get wind of when it's about to hit the shelves! ( )
  Isabella2 | Mar 15, 2013 |
“….[T]houghtful and philosophical…. a Humanities curriculum would be well served to add…[Outlaw in India]…to a list of recommended reads in multicultural literature….”

"It is a stand-alone novel that can be enjoyed without reading the others, but reading the series in sequence shows the growth of Alfred as a character and the development of Roy's themes of responsibility for oneself and for others....Outlaw in India is an introduction to this ancient and complicated land, and Alfred is an ideal guide, curious, observant and open-minded. Roy gives readers vivid sensory descriptions of the cities and landscapes Alfred travels through. The people Alfred encounters prove the most interesting as he is exposed to the extremes of callousness and compassion....Readers will admire Alfred's courage...[h]is journeys expand his understanding of humanity and test his notions of right and wrong. Roy uses characters to raise questions and challenge Alfred's and the reader's assumptions. Roy explores notions of mentorship and the way people are transformed by their encounters with other people....Outlaw in India is a much deeper book than it appears. The plot is full of incident and excitement with various levels of tension....The book can be read purely as an adventure in a foreign land, but readers will inevitably have their views of the world changed. This fifth volume is the best Submarine Outlaw book yet. It's a fast-paced, fun read with interesting themes that will appeal to boys and to anyone who likes travel and adventure.
Highly Recommended."
"[P}erhaps the most imposing character in Outlaw in India is not a character at all. It is India. The country, as Alfred experiences it, is a living entity, a complicated being of the expected (e.g., the heat and amazing foods) and the surprising (e.g., discrimination and kindness). Though the series could easily be promoted as a great adventure series for boys, the Submarine Outlaw books will continue to garner fans of both genders for its great characters and adventure with a frisson of the impossible and the hope for everything working out well (a.k.a. the happy ending). Readers will continue to find all that here in Outlaw in India, fresh and engrossing, just as each new book in the series has offered. With Africa set to be the location of the next book in the series, there is even more to anticipate."
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In Outlaw in India, the fifth volume in the best-selling Submarine Outlaw series, Alfred and his crew of Seaweed the seagull and Hollie the dog begin their exploration of India with a piece of bad luck when they surface behind a frigate and bring the wrath of the Indian navy down upon them. After a near fatal encounter off Kochi, Alfred befriends a ten-year-old homeless and illiterate but highly intelligent boy, and is given the chance to explore the changing face of India through the eyes of one of its “untouchables.” Discovering India to be an ancient land filled with extremes of beauty, wealth, tradition and danger, Alfred is tricked into making an overland pilgrimage to Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest cities. Along the journey he witnesses practices which deny human equality and dignity, but also happy events that celebrate the spirit of new beginnings, as personified in Ganesh, the Hindu god with four arms and the head of an elephant. Alfred cannot help falling in love with India, the most beautiful place he has ever seen. And for the first time, he leaves a part of himself behind.
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Alfred, Hollie the dog, and the crew of Seaweed the gull explore India, where they experience the wrath of the Indian navy and befriend a ten-year-old "untouchable".

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