Swallows and Amazons

  • by Arthur Ransome
  • Narrated by Gareth Armstrong
  • 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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. Swallows and Amazons, the book that started it all in 1930, introduces the Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat Island, the able-bodied catboat Swallow, and the two intrepid Amazons, plucky Nancy and Peggy Blackett.
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.

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What the Critics Say

"Enchanting and escapist" (Sunday Express)
"There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating" (Times Literary Supplement )
"Thrilling not only to young readers fond of the sea, but also to older readers who remember how they enjoyed sea stories when they themselves were young" (The Scotsman)
"All the thrills of Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe" (Daily Telegraph)
"Absolutely fantastic" (Daily Express)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Nostalgic children's adventures

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Oh yes, it's a charming story well narrated.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Swallows and Amazons?

I can't say the most memorable one as I don't wish to give part of the story away! But Captain Flint the retired pirate was great, especially after peace and war, and I did enjoy Able Seaman Titty's fabulous feat - I applauded her as much as the others did.


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

Having read this series of books as a child I gave all the characters my own voice. It wasn't until hearing this audiobook that I thought of course, the Amazons are bound to have accents from that region!

The flip side of that though was my thought that if Mrs Walker grew up in Australia, surely she'd have an Australian accent rather than a Home Counties one?


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

Captain Flint's apology, or rather John's reaction to it.


Any additional comments?

It was with trepidation that I got this book and started listening to it. This was a very much loved series of books in my childhood and I've been disappointed several times as an adult reader going back to cherished books. I needn't have feared though. A slow start until I got used to the narrator, followed by a long knitting/audiobook session had me falling back in love with this book. It's funny isn't it: as an adult with a different perspective on the world, I had a new level of appreciation of certain events within the story and a different reaction to them. As a child this book was full-on drama action and adventure. As an adult it was much more gentle, whilst appreciating that the young characters were indeed experiencing full-on drama, action and adventure! I was also better able to put the story into context from the time it was set. As a child I just thought it was a story about a set of children a long time ago. Listening now, knowing it was set in 1929 (if I recall correctly), places it at a set moment in time.I did so enjoy going back into Ransome's world and I will savour each story again. My sister and I were given the books over a few years for birthday and Christmas presents from one particular relative. It worked out at about four books a year. I'll aim to listen to them in about the same time frame so as to get maximum enjoyment again.If you choose this book I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy listening!

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- Lou

A enjoyable story, well read

Having read the Swallows and Amazons series as a child and more recently to my children, I was delighted to see them now appearing on Audible.

I wasn't disappointed, finding it as captivating and enjoyable as I remembered it. I found the narrator engaging and he helped enhance the story for me.

I'm looking forward to moving onto Swallowdale very soon!
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- Alasdair

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-06-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios