The story takes place in the futuristic year of 2216 in Britain. A “Great Collapse” several years previous threw Britain underwater and forced the inhabitants to start a new way of life. Electricity, electronics, motorized vehicles, etc. disappeared, not only from Great Britain, but from people’s memories. Now electronics are a thing of the past, a thing of mystery, and Lilly lives in a poor, simple fishing town (the new occupation). She sails her own tiny boat with the help of her seacat, “Cat”, fishing along with the workingmen.
The trouble starts when raiders invade and kidnap the minister’s daughter, hoping for the ransom of a great jewel supposedly hidden in the town. Lilly chooses to try and rescue the little girl to save her village from the rage of the minister. On her journey, she receives the “jewel” as a gift and it's actually a remaining, high-functioning gaming device. During her travels, she also meets Zeph, the son of the raider chief. They form a friendship that, after many twists, turns, and accusations of deceit, transforms into faithful devotion and protection on both sides.
I called this book a success when I finished it, though I would limit it to ages 10+ (or even early teens and up), only because it does have serious and intense moments such as when Lilly encounters the pirates and they tie her to a rotating wheel while throwing knives at her
The book focuses on the faithfulness of friendship, discovering the ins and outs of new cultures, and fighting for what you believe is right. There is no reference through the book of God or any religions for that matter, but for a secular fantasy novel it is well written (though it switches between two first-person characters, which was a little confusing at first), very imaginative, and packed with adventure that truly kept me turning the pages.
I enjoyed it, and if you have a few days free of chores, homework, or other duties equally as unpleasant, I suggest reading Raiders' Ransom by the fireside with a cup of hot cocoa and fuzzy socks.
Violence Level: **Romance Level: * (just friendship)
Christian Focus: *
Readability Level: ** (easy reading; appropriate for age group)
Story Depth Level: ***
Recommendation: **** (Definite recommendation)