AUTHOR: Barry Wolverton
INFO: Hardcover, Fiction, 338 pages
PUBLISHED: Walden Pond Press, 2015
SOURCE: Received from Publisher
FROM GOODREADS: Does the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure - or terrible secret - was hidden by its disappearance?
It's 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought Map's port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death - cleaning up the town vomitorium.
It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.
Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive.
Barry Wolverton's thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.
MY TAKE: I am tickled that I was sent this book for review. It is aimed at the 8-12 year old reader, but this "much older" gal really got a kick out of the story and I believe other adults and their kids will too. It is extremely hard to come up with a book that multiple generations can read and enjoy, but this author has done it quite well.
My favorite genre is historical fiction. I love getting lost in a story that has elements of the actual past interwoven with a fictional tale. I'm fascinated by authors who can blend these two elements and come up with a fun and interesting story that keeps the reader hooked until the very last page. This was one of those books that I couldn't put down as I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I spent half of a very enjoyable day reading it from cover to cover.
The characters in this story are well written and engaging. Bren can't seem to keep himself out of trouble due to his wanderlust and thirst for "anything away from Map". When his chance for adventure finally does come, Bren jumps in with both feet and doesn't look back - too much.
I highly recommend this book to readers, young and old, who enjoy a good adventurous romp. There is mystery, suspense and fast-paced action to be had as well as some good puzzle-solving dilemmas. I am really looking forward to the next volume in this lovely new series.
~~~~~ Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links. I may receive books in order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one. Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.