Kai Meyer's The Wave Runners is the first in a fantasy trilogy. It's perfect for any children who are fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
14 year old Jolly is a pirate (and is named after the pirate flag, the Jolly Roger). She was bought in a slave market as a young child and has been brought up by the dashing pirate Captain Bannon. During her years aboard the Maid Maddy she has learnt many of the necessary pirating skills that she needs to survive, but her greatest talent is one she has had all her life: Jolly is a polliwiggle, someone who can literally walk on water. She believes that she's the last of her kind still alive. When the crew of the Maid Maddy are ambushed and everyone else is killed she starts to wonder if the real target of the attack was herself, rather than Captain Bannon and his crew. She manages to escape from her ship and is washed up, nearly dead, onto a small island where she is rescued by a young boy named Munk who, it turns out, is also a polliwiggle. However, in spite of their remote location someone discovers the truth about the pair. After Munk's parents are murdered by an entity called the Acherus, the two polliwiggles decide to try to discover the identity of whoever is behind the attacks. They soon find themselves in the middle of a swashbuckling adventure where they meet up with a number of unusual characters, including the mysterious Ghost Trader.
I enjoyed this story. Jolly and Munk are interesting characters, as is the explanation for their ability to walk on water. The tale is set in the 17th century - but I suspect it's an alternate universe to ours (though I confess I've not found the time, yet, to check out that theory). The Ghost Trader is also a fascinatingly mysterious character - I hope we'll learn a bit more about him in the later books.
This story was originally written in German but it's been beautifully translated into English and manages to maintain a sense of adventure and excitement throughout the story. Kai Meyer has an English website here. This book was received for review from the publisher, Egmont, and it's out in May. It's also available from Amazon.com, but in the US it is called Pirate's Curse (The Wave Walkers).