High sea adventures return to homeland

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Following recent voyages to Australia and the Carribbean, Alexander McCall Smith’s School Ship Tobermory and its intrepid young crew are returning to home waters in the latest adventure, The Secret of the Dark Waterfall.

This is the fourth book in the series, which follows the swashbuckling exploits of the youngsters, who go to school aboard a sail-powered training ship.

A keen sailor himself, Smith divides his time between his homes in Edinburgh and Morvern, with his love of the sea and the West Coast  palpable on every page of his novels.

‘I decided to bring the SS Tobermory back to home waters simply because I enjoy writing about an area I am so familiar with and I love the idea of a group of children going off on these adventurous journeys together around places I enjoy,’ said the author, who took up sailing himself as an adult.

On their latest adventure the children set sail for the remote islands of St Kilda where, in the island museum, they discover a fisherman’s journal written 100 years ago. It tells of a mysterious shipwreck in Loch Sunart, a boat crammed with Viking treasure.

The SS Tobermory returns to the waters around Mull in search of the lost wreck. Before long, however, Ben and Fee MacTavish and their friends realise they are not the only ones searching for the treasure.

They must face a ruthless and determined adversary who will stop at
nothing to seize the prize.

This latest instalment sees Ben’s friendship with Badger hit troubled waters as Badger inexplicably takes up with Flubber, Shark and Hardtack. At the same time, his new cabin mate Rory Quinn may have something to

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of more than 80 books, including the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, and 44 Scotland Street. He is one of the world’s most prolific and popular authors, and his books have been translated into 46 languages.

The School Ship Tobermory series has sold more than 30,000 copies around the world.

Photograph: Sam Jones.