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Summary

For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published over a half-century ago, the twelve books are still eagerly read by children and adults alike – by all those captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Such longevity is not only due to Ransome’s unparalleled gift of storytelling, but also his championing of qualities such as independence and initiative; virtues that appeal to every generation, whether young or old. Swallowdale (originally published in 1931) is the second title in Arthur Ransome's classic series. It follows the Walker family and friends through a shipwreck, a camp on the mainland, a secret valley and cave, and a thrilling mountain hike.

Arthur Ransome was a prolific writer of children's books. Born in Leeds in 1884, it was his father, a nature-loving history professor, who inspired his love of the outdoors and nurtured a passion for fishing. As a child he enjoyed active, outdoor holidays: sailing, camping and exploring the countryside. He used many of these holiday settings for his children's stories, notably the much-loved Swallows and Amazons, a book that sits comfortably in the category of ‘timeless classic’. In 1936 he won the first ever Carnegie Medal for the sixth book in the Swallows & Amazons series, Pigeon Post.

©2013 Arthur Ransome (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

"Quite an achievement" ( The Guardian)
"There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating" ( Times Literary Supplement)
"Swallowdale is a real book . . . Even better than Swallows and Amazons" ( Time and Tide)

What listeners say about Swallowdale

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Better than Swallows and Amazons!

A book of its time, and none the worse for that. A more realistic series than The Famous Five set in the time when children were encouraged to self reliant and capable. My parents read these to me half a century ago and I to my daughter twenty odd years ago., but they are still as good today. Set in the Lake District and featuring the Walker and Blackett children. The four Walkers manage to sink their dinghy so have to holiday ashore. Adventure s covering catching trout, climbing fells, getting lost in the fog and of course battles with the Blacketts ensue.

A great read for children around ten to twelve, but play it on a long journey so you can listen too! Still a page turner but also charmingly nostalgic for us old timers

10 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 07-07-14

Swallows and Amazons - Book 2

Would you listen to Swallowdale again? Why?

Yes, I will listen to it many times, its a classic childrens story, that is a good story for adults to get away from it all too.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nancy the Amazon Pirate, she treats life with a robust attitude to reality

What about Gareth Armstrong’s performance did you like?

His performance was strong but did not interfere with the story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The sinking of the Swallow is a particularly poingnant moment

8 people found this helpful

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Best book ever

Great read

Definitely a five star rate for everything
I loved every single second and every chapter got better and better

6 people found this helpful

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Listen with a glass of grog

I've loved the Swallows and Amazons books since childhood and now I've discovered that the only thing which was lacking then was having an audio version so that they can be part of my day whatever I'm doing.

Swallowdale is the second adventure for the Walker and Blackett children (and not forgetting Captain Flint and the parrot, of course). Disaster strikes right at the beginning of their Lakeland holiday, when Swallow is shipwrecked and a Great Aunt arrives to demand that Nancy and Peggy dance attendance on her during her visit. Sailing is off for everyone. John gets busy on repairs to Swallow while the other three, Susan, Titty and Roger go off on what we'd now call a "wild camping" trip, with the parrot. Nancy and Peggy, meanwhile, are expected to wear frocks and recite verse, and even Captain Flint is roped in to behave like a proper grown-up and not a pirate. The Blacketts are determined not to be entirely left out, though, and plan ways to spend time with the others. When they promise to learn "Casabianca", how is the Great Aunt to know that they'd learnt it at school and are already word-perfect. That's an hour or two saved!

All of the Audible versions of Ransome's books are a delight. My only tiny quibble is that the reader, Gareth Armstrong, who does an excellent job, gives the Blackett girls Cumbrian accents, which is just plain wrong. However, he has six children to voice, and I suspect he made a pragmatic decision that this would be the best way to help differentiate them, so I will forgive him. These are to be listened to with a glass of grog and a nice large slice of farmhouse fruit cake.

5 people found this helpful

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Fabulous and narration MUCH improved!

Would you listen to Swallowdale again? Why?

Yes, definitely. I've loved this series since I was little, but I have got even more out of them as an adult. This one is the second in the series, there isn't very much sailing this time but the story is one of the best and the atmosphere is so relaxing.

What other book might you compare Swallowdale to, and why?

I wish I could find another series that was anything like this! To be honest I can't think of another book to compare it to.

What does Gareth Armstrong bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

When I listen to a book I become much more immersed in the atmosphere and the story than if I just read it. I personally like Gareth Armstrong's choice of voices, and the characters are that bit more vivid because of his reading.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Mrs Walker sees the children bringing Roger back on the stretcher - even though we know there isn't anything terribly wrong, her feelings as a mother come through so much that you can't help joining in her panic.

Any additional comments?

When I reviewed the first book in this series, Swallows and Amazons, I had a lot of negative things to say about the narration. I'm happy to report that it is much much better in Swallowdale. The pace is perfect, not rushed, the reading is much more accurate and Gareth Armstrong seems a lot more comfortable. If I'm honest there are still a few slips here and there with regards to reading the wrong word but it's easy to overlook. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest now.

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Charming sequel to a much loved classic..

Swallowdale continues the story of the Walkers and Blacketts a year later, telling of their adventures in and around the lake and Wild Cat Island . There are new natives to befriend as well as a Great Aunt who does her best to thwart all of the fun - will Nancy and Peggy ever be allowed to come out and play? Delightfully narrated, if you enjoyed Swallows and Amazons (which should be listened to first) then you'll love this too.

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Wonderful

This is a really great story and it was well narrated. I found the intonation excellent and will listen to it again.

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Danger and Triumph

Nancy is a force of nature who inspires these young heroes to great adventures. A story from last century that can inspire children to dream and live, to deal with trials and to be generous to others.

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Swallowdale

The story was very good 👍 Arthur Ransome and Gareth Armstrong were really good 👍and enjoyed listing to the story all the way through.

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It was decent

It can get quite weird

So I would kind of recommend it

Hope you enjoy it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-09-19

Lunchtime delight

We are loving the Swallows and Amazons Series! We home school and listen most lunch times, sorry when the chapter and lunch are finished. Excites the imagination!!