The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

Jonathan Stroud

Meet Scarlett McCain, a feisty and sharp-shooting outlaw in a futuristic Britain where surviving towns seem reassuringly familiar while the rest of the land is bleak and menacing. Meet Albert Browne, sweet-natured and awkward who has a dark, and so-far uncontrolled, talent. These are the protagonists in Jonathan Stroud’s new book which fans of his previously critically-acclaimed books Lockwood & Co and Bartimaeus will love. 

Each pursued by their enemies, the two flee across the south of England trying to escape capture and probable death. It’s an original narrative with plenty of ironic humour. The bowler-hatted assassins are memorable whilst the “Tainted” are just menacing enough to make us feel uncomfortable! 

A perfect read for Key Stage 3 pupils, readers of both mystery and fantasy will enjoy the detailed descriptions of the wild lands through which the outlaws travel and will appreciate the emerging friendship between Scarlett and Albert.

Published by Walker Books

What young people think:

This book is a fun, adventurous and magical rollercoaster of ideas – a real page turner. It is good to see roles being reversed in this story – the boy is shy and seems weak, but the girl is the strong brave heroine. I would definitely recommend this book to children aged between 10 and 14 because it is such a great book. It is full of everything that makes you feel as though you are on the adventure too. You really feel Albert’s pain and misery when he is chained and locked up in a cage of no freedom. The book builds from a slightly slower start, so stick with it as the adventure builds up to a fantastic end! (Y8 student)

I extremely enjoyed this book mainly because of the amount of detail that was put into every paragraph. I really liked the use of maps at the beginning, it really helped to understand more about what they were saying throughout the book. I absolutely love Scarlett’s darkness because she’s not just dark, she’s dark in a humorous way and that just makes me want to read on and never stop. I am unfamiliar with Jonathon’s work but I would really like to read more and explore his work even more. (Y6 student)

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton