In the sequel to The Vanishing Island (2015), 12-year-old Bren and his young companion, Mouse, struggle to reconcile their conflicting goals while staying true to their friendship.
After discovering a bone-inscribed map on the Vanishing Island, Bren (a white boy from Britannia) and Mouse (a Chinese girl) wash up ashore on a deserted island. Fortunately, the children reunite with a stripped-down crew from the shipwrecked Albatross, headed by Sean Graham, a white Eirish sailor. Together, they hatch a plan to sail home, but two new companions throw them off track: Lady Jean Barrett, a white, Britannic antiquary tasked with bringing Bren home safely to Map; and Yaozu, a Chinese scholar in search of artifacts empowered by the gifts of the eight demigods who once ruled Heaven and Earth. Instead of sailing toward the East Netherlands, the five explorers head to China, forging an uneasy partnership and relying on one another to survive. As they face life and death at almost every turn, Bren learns lessons in trust, loyalty, and teamwork, and eventually answers are revealed. In his signature style, Wolverton cleverly overlays intricate plotting with ancient Chinese legends and history (including the Dragon Boat Festival and the Terracotta Warriors) and creates a thrilling, fast-paced story that flies by.
Fans will wait with bated breath for the third book in the trilogy. (maps) (Historical fantasy. 9-14)