2 Introduction There was once a village bred by evil. On the barren coast of Cornwall, England, lived a community who prayed for shipwrecks, a community who lured storm-tossed ships to crash upon the sharp rocks of their shore.They fed and clothed themselves with the loot salvaged from the wreckage; dead sailors' tools and trinkets became decorations for their homes.Most never questioned their murderous way of life.Then, upon that pirates' shore crashed the ship The Isle of Skye.And the youngest of its crew members, 14-year-old John Spencer, survived the wreck.The time is 1799 and the Skye is lured onto the rocky coast by the people of Cornwall.John does not know who to trust.
3 Cornwall, EnglandIsle of Skye wrecks in this bay
4 Chapter 1 – The Wreck The Isle of Skye wrecks on the Tombstones John Spencer14 year old boy on his first voyageMr. SpencerJohn’s father; orders Stafford to head for shoreCaptain StaffordUneasy from the start of the voyage; does not want to take the ship into shoreCridgethe first mate“In the eerie glow of a burning dawn I saw figures up along the clifftop, and a line of land that almost ringed our little ship.” (p.8)
5 Chapter 2 – A Drowning John survives the wreck but runs for his life Caleb Stratton and his menKill Cridge – crush his headJohn witnesses the murderRuns awayJohn is discovered and is hunted by the menStumpssaves John from the men“One noise and you’re done for,” said this voice like a rusted hinge. (p.18)
6 Chapter 3 – The Legless Man Stumps believes the ship’s cargo is gold John sees his father’s ring on StumpsCaleb discovers John with Stumpsplans to kill JohnTommy ColwynOnly a boy killed by CalebSpots wants to let John goCaleb reminds the men of the lawThe wreck must be deadSimon MawganRescues John“Remember this,…If you put the wreckmen on me, yourfather will rot where he lies.”
7 Chapter 4 – Galilee Simon’s house is richly furnished from the wrecks On the way to Simon’s house, they meet Parson TweedWarns Simon to keep John closeJohn feels something sinister and sly about himSimon questions John about the Isle of SkyeThe voyage began in SpainCargo was wineSimon is suspicious that the cargo was loaded at nightJohn agues that Caleb used false lights to wreck the shipMary makes starry- gaze pie for Eli“I was stung by the way that even Mary could talk, with such nonchalance, of what came from the drowning of sailors.” (p.40)
8 Chapter 5 – A Row of Bodies John learns about the wreckers Mary gives John Peter’s clothesPeter is Simon’s dead sonJohn and Mary go riding and he confides in herbelieves his father is alive and is somewhere in the villageMary tells John why the mines of Pendennis closedwhen a wreck occurred, the men left the mines to take everything from the wreck.Even women and children of the village tracked a ship for daysThe law of a wreck: anything that came from a wreck was free for salvage, but only if there were no survivors.Simon has the ‘right of wreck’ if it comes ashore in St. Elmo’s Bay between Wrinkle Head and NorthgroundJohn learns that Tommy Colwyn was a wrecker and was hanged because he wouldn’t give the names of the wreckers“So it was the law, John, that made the devil’s work of wrecking.” (p. 48)
9 Chapter 6 – The Haunted Cove John and Mary get to know each other Mary tells how she saw Caleb use false beacons when she was a childThe women and children were sent homeSimon argued with CalebHe came home the next morning bloodied, bruised and wetTold Mary he tried to stop themWent down to the beach and took up an axeThat was the night Stumps lost his legsSimon told Mary he made sure that was the last time they used the lightsBut John argues they still doMary doesn’t believe him and says Simon gets the salvage because of the law and John was saved by her uncleJohn and Mary ride to Coffee CoveMary tells about the corpse lights – pale blue lights that move across the cliffs and beachPeople of the village run away when they see themMary shows John her secret gardenFor each wreck she plants a flowerMary believes Caleb is not smart enough to be the leaderBut John secretly suspects Simon“The next time a ship wrecks on the Tombstones, I’m going to swim out to it…I’ll tie myself to themast. And if they want the wreck, they’ll have to …to kill me.” (p.58)
10 Chapter 7 – The Evil Eye John and Mary go riding on the Moors John sees the widowPeople believe she’s a witchShe puts the evil eye on John – word of John has spreadMary tells John the Widow’s brother and husband drownedJohn and Mary race back to the houseJohn meets Simon in the stableSimon demands to know where they wentJohn feels he’s treated like a prisoner, but Simon claims he is only concerned for his safetyEli tries to communicate with JohnHe draws a running manJohn thinks Eli is telling him to run awaySimon warns John and Mary about racing on the moorsthe sinkholes are dangerousSimon reveals that Mary told him that John’s father is aliveMary says Simon could helpSimon presses John about the cargo of wineSays John is a liar“And I still didn’t know whether to trust him or not. He seemed quite harmless, yet every man in Pendennis obeyed his commands.” (p.72)
11 Chapter 8 – The Mystery of the Barrels Eli tries to tell John something John tells Simon about the voyageThey anchored at night in a coveJohn stayed on the shipHe was sent to the foretop with hooded lanternsTold to show the light when given the wordJohn said he was suspiciousJohn’s father left the ship for about an hourThey brought back barrels, loaded them on the ship and leftSimon believes the barrels had false bottoms to carry gold or diamondsJohn flatly denies this claimSimon says he doesn’t care for the gold but he wreckmen are talking about it.Says Caleb will kill his father if he finds himStumps will probably sell him for a reward after he finds the goldStumps has disappearedSimon believes he is hidingMary and John go outsideJohn tells Mary about Eli’s drawingMary explains it is the man on the tombJohn learns that Eli doesn’t take from wrecks and refuses to live in the main houseMary takes John to the tomb ( the cromlech) on the moorsSimon says there is a curse on the tomb – whoever looks in will die in a day.John and Mary hear two gunshots which means there’s a ship in the bay
12 Chapter 9 – A Ship Embayed John and Mary go to the cromlech kram-lek – Welsh for bent stone; a circle of stonesJohn and Mary hear someone go into the cromlechJohn goes inside and finds a beacon ( lantern )John thinks Simon planted the false lightMary refuses to believe her uncle would do such a thingA ship is off shore and the people of Pendennis pray that it wrecksJohn tells Mary he is going into Pendennis while it is emptyA good time to search for his father“Sometimes this last for days,” said Mary. “…the people wander back andforth…sleep here…there edn’t a one of them who’ll go away and miss thechance to be first at a wreck.” (p.95)
13 Chapter 10 – Wrapped in Chains John finds his father John and Mary go to the villageJohn whistles a tune his father would recognizeJohn hears a scratching sound while he and Mary near the chandlery – once a brewery - a passageway to the seaJohn finds his father chained to a wet brick wallStumps comes at dawn and dark to move him so he won’t drown, for now“Shaken, I lowered the trap. The door to the passageway locked with asimple crossbar. As soon as it opened, Mary was there…“Where’s your father…he’s wrapped in chains…we have to come back.”(p.108)
14 Chapter 11 – A Gargoyle Come to Life John and Stumps fight Parson Tweed frightens John and Mary as they leave the passagewayHe asks if John found his fatherJohn says no because he does not trust himJohn and Mary go to the blockhouse where Stumps livesJohn finds a set of keys and returns to his father, but the keys do not workMary goes ahead while John pauses to thinkStumps arrives and chases John across the rooftops of he brewery“Stumps came hurling up onto the roof behind me…he looked like a gargoyle come to life.” ( p )
15 Chapter 12 – A Stone for a Heart John is still in danger John struggles to get away from StumpsMary arrives with Parson Tweed who kills StumpsJohn keeps quiet about his father.After the Parson leaves, Mary tells John she does not believe the Parson is the puppet master behind the wreckers, but John will not trust him.John and Mary return to the cliff out of sight of the widow and the villagers who keep a watch over the ship that is closer to shoreAt dawn, Uncle Simon appears on the coastal roadThe Widow performs a chant as the ship moves closer to shoreBut the ship clears the rocks on Wrinkle HeadCaleb Stratton is furious and the Widow blames the escape on John’s presenceCaleb wants to find John to kill him.Caleb threatens Simon that he might tell Mary the truth about her father and what happened one night on the TombstonesSimon fights with Caleb and warns him that he will deal with JohnMary and John rush to return to Galilee before Simon“Along the cliff, the wreckers crouched on the ground. They put their hands on the earth; they lowered their heads and hunched their shoulders. And above them the Widow sang. She screeched like a flock of gulls.” (p.127)
16 Chapter 13 – Four Together Mary tells John about the night her parents died John and Mary go to the farm in GalileeThey hear a scream and can not find EliThey search the house and go into Simon’s roomJohn sees a painting of PeterMary tells John about the night her parents, Simon’s wife and his son Peter died – she was a babyThey had gone to London and returned early on the ship The Rose of SharonThe ship was embayed and was wrecked on the Tombstones with false beaconsSimon found his son and wife washed up with their arms around each otherMary’s parents washed ashore a few days laterSimon arrives and John tells him they heard the scream from the cromlech and Simon is angryThey see blood on Simon’s handsSimon says he found Eli dead in the stable with a pitchfork through himMary thinks Simon killed himSimon blames JohnMary and John find Eli alive in the stableSimon carries Eli to Mary’s bed in the houseMary has to nurse Eli to save his life“There’s not a man in Pendennis who would come out here to help him. The nursing would beMary’s task alone. (p.141)
17 Chapter 14 – A Terrifying Decision John wants to save his father Mary and John care for EliSimon tells John he is leaving on the ship that stops at Polruan the next day and warns him not to run offJohn struggles with the idea of leaving his father in PendennisHe doesn’t trust Simon to get him safely awayJohn decides to make a final attempt to rescue his father after Simon goes to bedHe has to travel over the moor at night to avoid CalebWhen Simon falls asleep, John sneaks away“ I thought of my father chained to the tunnel wall, of the rats that gnawed at his feet.” (p.146)
18 Chapter 15 – Across the Moor John tries to free his father John takes Mary’s pony and heads across the moor toward the villageThe horse falls into a mine shaftJohn goes on to PendennisTwo gunshots are heard to signal another ship in the bayJohn tries to free his father but his only tool, the chisel is uselessJohn’s father tells him to leave“I sat back against the wall. Father was right; it couldn’t be done.” (p.158)
19 Chapter 16 – A Dead Man Rises John learns the truth about the cargo Mary arrives with Parson Tweed to help John free his fatherOnce John’s father is free, Parson Tweed holds them at gunpointHe admits that he stabbed EliHe wants the gold in exchange for JohnJohn attacks the ParsonThe gun fires and John falls into the water belowHe lands on the skiff and Stumps rises to the surfaceParson tweed grabs Mary and fires again at JohnJohn’s father attacks the Parson from behindThey throw the Parson into the skiff with Stumps and shove the boat out to sea where it disappearsJohn’s father explains that the Spaniards cheated themThey did not know the barrels had false bottoms filled with sawdustJohn and his father take Mary’s horse to ride to Polruan“Evil men will always see evil in others…”
20 Chapter 17 – False Beacons John tries to save the ship from the wreckers John hears three shots which means a ship is coming to shoreHe and his father decide to turn backThey see the dead Stumps and the Parson on the seaJohn finds Simon in the cliffs with a lantern and believs he is a wreckerWhen John smashes the lantern, Simon tells him that he is trying to save the shipThe lantern glass is blueSimon is the corpse lightPeople run away when they see the corpse lightsHe didn’t tell anyoneSimon admits he wrecked The Rose of SharonThe wreckers have lit the beacons to wreck the shipThey see Stumps and think he’s come back from the dead“I could smell the fumes of the lanterns; I saw the shadowed forms of themen who tended them, two in capes beside the pony, one more below.” (p.182)
21 Chapter 18 – Men of Fire John saves the ship John tries to stop Caleb and his menThen they see the corpse lightsA keg of oil spills when Caleb fires at JohnThe oil spills over Jeremy Haines and John ignites the oil which rapidly spreads including CalebJeremy and Caleb fall into the seaThe ship changes courseJohn and his father spend the night at Simons houseSimon says there will be no more wreckingMary learns that Simon was the corpse lightsJohn future is in sailing according to his fatherJohn and his father return to London and they never see Mary and Simon again.“Never again will a sailor look up from a storm-tossed deck and see the false beaconsgutter and burn. The wreckers only sit and wait. But on the darkest, wildest nights – or sothe story goes – the corpse lights still walk on the beach at the Tombstones.” (p.191)
22 QuestionIt can be said that a hero is someone who does the right thing even when they are scared. Using specific examplesfrom the book, show how this definition of a hero applies to John or Mary.Model Answer:It can be said that a hero is someone who does the right thing even when they are scared. In the novel, TheWreckers by Iain Lawrence, the major character John is a hero. John is a hero when he tries to save his father andwhen he risks his life to stop the wreckers.From the beginning of the novel, John is a hero when he tries to save his father. When Stumps hints thatJohn’s father is alive, John knows he has to keep quiet about his father because he does not know who to trust. Heeventually trusts Mary and when they find where Stumps has hidden John’s father, they risk their lives to rescue him.John has to fight off Stumps who is willing to kill John and his father for the sake of gold. John has to free his fatherfrom the chains so that he won’t drown. John does not give up trying to save his father. When all the villagers are atthe cliffs waiting for a ship to wreck, John makes a last attempt to save his father. After Parson Tweed helps John feehis father, John almost loses his life when the Parson tries to shoot him. But luckily John’s father kills the Parson. Johnis a hero because he never gave up trying to rescue his father even though he was in danger.John is also a hero when he tries to stop the wreckers. Even though he and his father are close to freedom,John feels he has to return to the cliffs to save the ship in the bay. He confronts Simon on the cliffs thinking that Simonis using false lights to guide the ship into the bay. But when he learns that Simon is only trying save the ship, herealizes he has to do something to stop Caleb and his men. He puts himself in danger when he confronts Caleb and hismen who have lit the beacon fires to lead the ship into the bay to crash upon the rocks. Caleb will not hesitate to killJohn if he gets in his way. But he sets the men on fire when their fuel is spilled. Caleb and Jeremy are sent to theirdeaths when they are caught on fire. John was willing to risk his life so that he could save a ship load of men. He isdefinitely a hero for saving so many lives and stopping the wrecking for good.John is a hero because even though he was in scary situations, he risked his life to do the right thing. Hesaved his father and stopped the wreckers who had been killing lots of innocent people for years.
23 QuestionSuspense was used a great deal in this novel. In your own words, define suspense and give two examples of suspense from the novel and explain how each creates suspense for the reader.Suspense – the feeling of uncertainty about an outcomeExamples:The reader does not know if Simon is a wreckerJohn does not know if he can rescue his fatherParson Tweed is a suspicious character and John can’t trust himJohn is unsure if Stumps will catch him trying to rescue his fatherNo one knows if the corpse lights are real or ghosts.
24 QuestionThe author of this book has made John a character that we can sympathize with or feel bad for. Explain two ways that the author has made John a sympathetic character (someone you would root for!).John is worried that his father will die and he is determined to save himJohn refuses to leave Pendennis without himJohn worries about Mary who wants to stop the wreckers by swimming out to the next ship that comes into the bayJohn can not trust anyone – he is a stranger in PendennisCaleb Stratton wants to kill him, but Simon protects John