Hostage Three by Nick Lake

Amy is 17 and unhappy. Her attempts at attention-seeking result in her having to leave school and, in the wake of this, her wealthy father decides to take her, and her stepmother, on a round the world sailing trip. It’s an attempt to heal the rifts in the family and to help Amy to settle. Amy finds the trip dull, although at the Suez Canal she begins to brighten up. But not for long. Soon the boat is captured by pirates and Amy is torn between fear and her feelings for one of the younger pirates.

The story is told by grumpy, unhappy Amy. She isn’t terribly likeable but her story is compelling: it’s not everyone who gets taken hostage by pirates! The book is full of interesting information: about the Suez Canal, the stars in the sky, the people of Somalia and the problems of war torn Somalia. The author presents the dual face of the pirates; deadly and dangerous yet solicitous and capable of kindness. Equally the economic conditions that have created the environment for the pirates to exist is discussed.

However, with a number of sad stories from hostage survivors appearing in the press over the last few years, Amy’s feelings for the pirate seem somewhat naive and unreal. An interesting book in which the author maintains the suspense and keeps you guessing as to what will happen.

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