Blood On The River: James Town, 1607 by Elisa CarboneBlood On The River: James Town, 1607 by Elisa Carbone

Blood On The River: James Town, 1607

byElisa Carbone

Paperback | September 20, 2007

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Twelve-year-old Samuel Collier is a lowly commoner on the streets of London. So when he becomes the page of Captain John Smith and boards the Susan Constant, bound for the New World, he can’t believe his good fortune. He’s heard that gold washes ashore with every tide. But beginning with the stormy journey and his first contact with the native people, he realizes that the New World is nothing like he imagined. The lush Virginia shore where they establish the colony of James Town is both beautiful and forbidding, and it’s hard to know who’s a friend or foe. As he learns the language of the Algonquian Indians and observes Captain Smith’s wise diplomacy, Samuel begins to see that he can be whomever he wants to be in this new land.
Elisa Carbone lives in Maryland and West Virginia.
Title:Blood On The River: James Town, 1607Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.81 × 5.19 × 0.63 inPublished:September 20, 2007Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0142409324

ISBN - 13:9780142409329

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12


Rated 4 out of 5 by from good fictional account of the Jamestown story for young people It is 1606, and Samuel Collier is an eleven-year-old orphan. His father had drunk himself to death, and his mother died in the poorhouse. Upon his mother’s death, her locket was taken to a pawn shop to fetch a little money to cover Samuel’s food. However, Sam runs away from the poorhouse, lives on the streets, and then steals the locket but is caught and turned over to a minister named Hunt who runs an orphanage. It just so happens that Mr. Hunt is accompanying a Virginia Company expedition to establish a settlement in the New World, and he offers Samuel the opportunity to become the page for Captain John Smith. This historical fiction book chronicles the first couple of years in the history of Jamestown through the eyes of young Samuel Collier. The question is, will he survive? Author Elisa Carbone, who grew up in Virginia, has written several other books of historical fiction for young people about the region. Her Stealing Freedom (1998), based on a true story of a young Maryland slave girl’s harrowing escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad around 1855, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and her Storm Warriors(2001), about racial prejudice against the African American surfmen of the U.S. Lifesaving Service on Pea Island off the North Carolina shore in 1895, won Virginia’s 2002 Jefferson Cup Award. When I saw Blood on the River on sale in a discount book store and noticed that it was historical fiction for young people about Jamestown, I immediately picked it up. The author evidently did a lot of detailed research to present a very accurate picture of the Jamestown colony and what happened there. She writes, “Though in some instances the dialogue is taken from the original records, for the most part I have invented dialogue, thoughts, personalities, and the like. And I have simplified a story that is far too complex to be contained in one book.” Samuel Collier was a real person, though Carbone says that she had to invent his family life and origins. He did accompany Captain Smith on two expeditions, was left to live at a Warraskoyack village for a time, stayed in Virginia when Smith returned to England, and when he grew up was appointed the leader of a Virginia town. There are a few references to drinking ale and wine and a couple of instances where people were said to be completely naked in public. Also, the terms “by God” and “my Lord” are each used once as an interjection. And Sam does a little bit of lying, especially towards the beginning, although he does learn to accept responsibility as he works with John Smith. Otherwise, this is a very well-written and interesting historical fiction account of the Jamestown story for middle and high school students.
Date published: 2012-08-25

Editorial Reviews

"Lively historical fiction at its best." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review"Samuel’s account of the voyage to Virginia, political intrigues among the settlers, and the harrowing first winter of the James Town settlement brings to life figures like Smith, Powhatan, and Pocahontas. Details about food and daily life add realism to the story, and quotes from historical sources begin each chapter." -School Library Journal, starred review