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Bloody Jack
Bloody Jack cover.jpeg
Author L.A. Meyer
Cover artist Cliff Nielsen
Country United States
Language English
Series Bloody Jack Adventure series
Genre Young adult, historical novel
Publisher Harcourt Children's Books
Publication date
September 1, 2002
Media type Print (hardback & paperback), audiobook
Pages 336
ISBN 0-15-216731-5
OCLC 48951422
LC Class PZ7.M9795 Bl 2002
Followed by Curse of the Blue Tattoo 

Bloody Jack, fully titled Bloody Jack: Being An Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship's Boy is a historical novel by L.A. Meyer. It is centered on an orphaned girl in London in the early 19th century. The story is continued in Curse of the Blue Tattoo, Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack, My Bonny Light Horseman, Rapture of the Deep, The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, The Mark of the Golden Dragon, Viva Jacquelina!, Boston Jacky, and Wild Rover No More.

Plot introduction

After losing her entire family to disease, eight-year-old Mary Faber joins a gang of orphans led by Rooster Charlie, whom she looks up to as a brother. One day, after stealing some bread, Mary stumbles across Charlie's corpse and realizes that he's been murdered. Donning his clothes, she assumes the identity of "Jack" and joins the crew of HMS Dolphin as a ship's boy.

While serving aboard the Dolphin, she kills a pirate during an attack on an enemy ship. As a mark of honor, her shipmates give her the nickname "Bloody Jack".


  • Mary 'Jacky' Faber: The protagonist of the series, she came from a middle-class London family who all died of a plague when she was about seven or eight years old. Suddenly living as a street orphan, she joins a gang led by a slightly older orphan, Rooster Charlie. After Charlie is killed, she enlists with the crew of the H.M.S. Dolphin as a ship's boy. Jacky exhibits the characteristics of a "Jack" or "Fox" folk hero: flashing a "foxy" smile, she is charming and sly, good-hearted and adventure seeking, endlessly slipping into and out of trouble, and making sport out of besting her foes.
  • Rooster Charlie: He is called Rooster Charlie, both because his last name is Brewster and because of his red hair and how it falls to the side. Though he is not much older than twelve to fourteen years of age himself, he is the leader of a small gang, and is killed for a grudge by a sordid adult. He was Jacky's closest friend. When she finds his murdered body, Jacky takes his knife and his clothes and uses them to begin her life as a boy. Aboard ship, she carves the shiv handle into the likeness of a rooster to honor Charlie.
  • James 'Jaimy' Emerson Fletcher: A fellow ship's boy on the H.M.S. Dolphin. He comes from a family that is not poor, but not wealthy enough to buy him a commission as a midshipman. His father enlists him as a ship's boy on the H.M.S. Dolphin. After Jacky secretly reveals her gender to him, Jaimy and Jacky pledge themselves to one another using gold rings that are put through their ears.
  • Liam Delaney: An Irishman and skilled sailor, he is Jacky's overseer and "sea dad" who gives her tips and rescues her from ill-intentioned men on board. He does not discover her true gender until it is publicly announced.
  • Muck: A corpse seller. He took the corpses of Jacky's family away when they died, murders her best friend, Rooster Charlie, and sells that corpse as well.
  • Davy, Willy, Benjy and Tink: Jacky and Jaimy's fellow ship's boys, with whom they form a blood brotherhood. By the end of the book, they have been separated by rank, and in one case, by death, but the bond the survivors had sworn on as shipboard novices remains strong.
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