The Salt-Stained Book

The Salt-Stained Book by Julia Jones

Printed Book

In 1945 two brothers die in the icy Barents Sea and a book is all that survives of them. More that sixty years later Donny sets out to discover his own identity – and the secrets of a salt-stained book. Volume One of the Strong Winds trilogy.

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34 thoughts on “The Salt-Stained Book

    • Thank you very much Dennis and thank you for your review in Armadillo magazine. You have such a wealth of experience as a writer and teacher that praise from you is praise indeed

  1. I’ve read, and I love, this book. Ransome is clearly the inspiration, and I think he’d give it ‘three million cheers’. It’s exciting, humane, beautifully written. A delight in every way.

  2. A fantastic adventure story…great reading for any age – not just children. Anyone who haas read Arthur Ransome’s books, or even seen the Swallows and Amazons film will love it. The writing makes it really easy to picture everything that happens.

  3. Real children, facing real 21st-century problems. Full of drama and humour – and sailing. And it’s the start of a brilliant trilogy

  4. I’m afraid that if I say ”forget Arthur Ransome” when reading this fantastic trilogy I may just get lynched.. but say it I will, because this story stands (and sails) in it’s own right. Please read the Salt Stained Book (and the following two books – A Ravelled Flag & Ghosting Home). It is real and passionate and understands inherent talent.. which without the right prevailing winds could so easily become ‘beached’. Also, the necessity of learning how to be, be it alone or together. A Triumph.

    • Obviously AR’s influence is central to this story but yes it is obviously important that it works for people who have never read Swallows and Amazons or been on board a boat. Thank you for you comment.

  5. I have read and enjoyed all three books – and given all my copies away twice so that I have the pleasure of buying them again! lovely to be able to vote for them.

  6. I am not a sailor and have never had anything to do with boats, but I just loved this book which has a ripping good story, and I felt I learnt a little sailors’ lore too, as I read it. I’m just about to start reading the 3rd book of the trilogy, so keep them coming Julia! Eirene Voon, NZ

  7. I’ve been behind this book from the very start when I stumbled across a comment from a colleague on our internal web in a large bookshop chain, and have waited eagerly for each new proof to come my way. I loved it not only because of the authors obvious passion for Arthur Ransome, my favourite children’s author ever, and a fascinating man, but also because of the modern twist that was given to a story of kids messing around in boats. Gripping adventure with some truly hate-worthy characters, an extremely well rounded book.

  8. Of course it’s a page-turning, read-all-at-the-same-sitting yarn. But not just an adventure story with a new take on our favourite plots. When I think of the book I come back to little Vicky. Circling round Salt Stained Book’s adventure world are the predators; inside them circles the cold-hearted system with its carrot-grating vicarage carers; inside this are the lost mothers; inside this – all the lost chldren; at the heart is the little scene where Donny cuddles soggy Vicky and feels her baby warmth. It is the nucleus whose warmth radiates out through all the other layers. All this makes it a book that stays with you.

    • That’s a breath-takingly perceptive comment. The scene with Donny and Vicky has been there since the beginning and though all the re-writes. I didn’t express it to myself as clearly as you have. Partly I’ll admit it as a new take on an old story (S&A), partly I have noticed how lovely adolescent boys can be with babies but mainly it was, as you saw, the feeling of terrible loneliness when you have no one to hug. And how you might not realise that until you do touch another person’s body.

  9. I love this book – and the whole trilogy. I have shared all these books with the Primary children I teach in Suffolk and I’m not sure who enjoyed them the most – me or the children!
    Please write more Julia.

    • One of the things I had never expected when I began writing the SSB was the friends I would meet because of it. I’m not expressing this well, but the response from the children at Kessingland, on both occasions. was truly delightful. See you in July!

  10. Great stuff, Julia
    Yes, Ann Palmer (above) sees to the heart of it! How sad that much of the ill treatment the children suffer (in your book – and in reality) is not directly from predatory fiends such as Flint, Toxic and the sheer nastiness of Miss Spinx and the bully boys but from the well-meaning, well-intentioned – social workers and the foster carers etc. People like the teachers who were too bound up in their own lives to stop and really look at what was happening to the children; people of stunted emotions like the carrot-graters, who MEAN to do well but sadly make things worse. I liked the way they grew and finally blossomed under the leavening influence of the children. Claire Raimon

    • Mirian Culpitt from New Zealand wasn’t able to post her comment herself. This was want she wished to say “I am not fond of water, except in the shower, and had read the Arthur Ransome books so long ago that they are really only a vague memory now, but I got caught up in the Salt Stained trilogy. I enjoyed reading about Donny and his small, then more extended, family and the appalling representatives of the police and social workers. All three books were a very good read and I hope to be able to introduce them to my grandchildren when they are older. Hopefully there may be another trilogy with some of the other members of that “family” (but not the baddies!) – they were all worth developing more. I wonder who it’ll be!”

    • It IS frightening that one can MEAN to do good, believe all the guff – and make bad worse. All we can do it our best, however and Rev Wendy (my character) and Gerald did come good in the end. At least finally they stopped listening to the ‘experts’ and listened to the children themselves. Thanks for your comment.

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