by Emily Diamand
New York: Scholastic, 2009. 334 pgs. Fiction.
In a futuristic and flooded England, Lilly is lucky beyond belief to have been chosen by a seacat, a feline navigator who helps his master sail safely around and among the drowned lands. But her luck runs low when Raiders attack her village, killing her grandmother and taking the Prime Minister's daughter hostage. When her neighbors and friends are rounded up and jailed or pressed as soldiers, she decides to go after Alexandra herself, hoping to set things right. Diamand, winner of the London Times' Children's Fiction Competition with this book, alternates chapters of Lilly's story with that of Zeph, a Raider boy who sees the world differently but who knows what's right in the end. A much-coveted talking "jewel," oddly valuable artifacts from the past (think: plastic milk jugs), and a bloody battle at sea make Raiders' Ransom a thrilling and unusual addition to the sci-fi/adventure genre.