Jameson Cooper’s dream of becoming a printer like his father is dashed when his parents die of the pox and he is left destitute on the streets. He is falsely accused of stealing and sold into indentured servitude. But on his first day he is attacked and knocked unconscious. When his head clears and his senses return he finds that he is aboard a ship captained by one of Queen Anne’s most feared privateers, Attack Jack. And Jameson is his newest recruit. His kidnapping by the press gang is illegal because he is only 13. To save his life, however, he must claim that he is 16. Though he must become a sailor, his printing skills are soon put to use as his captain sets him to the task of drawing the coast – creating a collection that will be used to reinforce England’s claim on the New World. Secrets abound, both on board and in the heart of a mysterious island. Jameson must navigate these treacherous waters, knowing all the while that he is an outlaw both at home and abroad.
This is Susan Verrico’s debut as an author, and Privateer’s Apprentice is a worthy YA novel. Jameson is a compelling youth. The world of colonial America and life at sea are fleshed out and full. Verrico breathes life into her work without requiring us to learn every twist in Parliament or every line and sail of the ship. I look forward to her next installment.