Here is a thrilling adventure which, for all its carefully worked out angles, becomes one of the year's best. At a certain level it is almost fantasy for the happenings seem utterly extraordinary to those of us used to the daily round. And to emphasize this, the author has given a dreamlike quality to her narrative. Yet when one takes modern scientific knowledge into account, the whole thing acquires a pattern of possibility. Serge, the young French hero of the story, is a foundling taken in by a poor family living near Bordeaux on the Garonne River, and the boy becomes deeply attached to his adopted sister, Angele. One day, playing on the river bank, Angele disappears and, it seems to Serge, the only place she could have gone is aboard a freighter named Pandar. Yet the consensus is that Angele has drowned and Serge spends the next years in misery over her loss. But with the return of the Pandar comes Serge's conviction that the ship holds the key to Angele's disappearance and he determines to sail aboard her. He does so with the help of a young mate, Cyril, who befriends him with warnings to trust no one and to follow signals from him. The Pandar goes north towards Newfoundland. At a strange island Serge is smuggled ashore in a barrel and he meets his first Jexium hunters- children, none under nine or over seventeen and none able to remember their pasts. How the whole set up reveals itself as a grandiose smuggling ring for atomic ores makes an excellent mystery complete with the character analyses and social commentary that turn it into a lasting reading experience. William Pene du Bois has done the drawings.