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Raider's Tide by Maggie Prince

Raider's Tide (2002)

by Maggie Prince

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  1. 00
    North Side of the Tree by Maggie Prince (Herenya)
    Herenya: 'North Side of the Tree' is the sequel to 'Raider's Tide'.

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Raider's Tide is a historical YA novel set in the 1500s, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Beatrice lives at Barrowbeck Tower near the Scotland border, in a community which is constantly on the look-out for Scottish raiders. Her father is a drunk highwayman and her mother a dreamer, so the running of their household and farm falls primarily to Beatrice and her sister, Verity. She and Verity are capable of this - and of organising defences against attacks from raiders; Beatrice sees no need for a husband. But she is now 16 and and marriage is no longer a safely distant prospect.
However, defying her family over her proposed marriage to her cousin becomes the least her of problems when she pushes a Scottish raider trying to scale the tower from an upper window and then stumbles across him in forest, seriously wounded. Feeling responsible and guilty, she decides to nurse him back to health, despite the huge personal risk involved - her actions mean she is a traitor to her own people.

This is a coming-of-age story about secrets, defying conventions and risking your life to save someone else. There is something very immediate and accessible about Beatrice's first-person, present-tense narrative, and I found it very easy to identify with her. Beatrice and Verity are delightfully intelligent and independent, and this is an engaging account of women who refuse to conform to conventions and expectations.
Raider's Tide's strength is also the vivid picture it conveys of life in a border community. It does a wonderful job of capturing not only the landscape, the sorts of people inhabiting it and their culture, but the little details - jobs, clothes, windows, attitudes, manners of speech and defences. These things help bring the 16th century to life.

I fell in love with this when I was Beatrice's age, despite having accidentally read the sequel first and hence knowing what happened. It captured my imagination. (As a teenager, it was the book I most wanted to see adapted into a film). Both it and its sequel, North Side of the Tree, have remained amongst my favourites. ( )
  Herenya | Jun 28, 2010 |
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The northern counties from time to time had to withstand invasion by the organised forces of Scotland, but their chief embarrassment was caused by a system of predatory incurious which rendered life and property insecure.
-- Victoria County History of Cumberland
They have taken forth of divers families all, the very rackencrocks and pot-hooks. They have driven away all the beasts, sheep and horses...
-- The Silver Dale, by William Riley
On 14 April... the Scots did come... armed and appointed with gavlockes and crowes of iron, handpeckes, axes and skailinge lathers.
-- Border Papers, Scottish Records ii 171
For Chris, Deborah, Daniel, and for my mother, whose landscape this is, with love and thanks.
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I jumped up, jolted out of my daydream.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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