Two sets of twins find themselves pursued by gangs and pirates on a swashbuckling sea adventure.
In mid-19th-century Manhattan, white, carrot-topped 12-year-old twins Cleopatra and Alexander Dodge have taken up with the no-good Black Hook gang since their father’s gone missing. When they bumble one of their break-ins, they end up snitching on the gang to save their own skins. Exiled from New York, they decide to head west. On their way, they encounter another set of white, titian-tressed con-artist twins, Silas and Edwin. After a destructive melee, the two sets of twins are separated, and Silas and Cleo (now disguised as a boy and going by Pat) must track down the shanghaied Edwin and Alex. All are being pursued by the Black Hooks and a fierce pirate, who is seeking items carried by Cleo and Alex. With a keen eye to detail and deft pacing, Larson has created a sweeping and richly woven tale that never once loses its breakneck momentum and adroitly juggles a number of themes and plotlines. Mock’s clearly delineated panels and earth-toned art breathe life into the historical setting, although some readers may have a hard time distinguishing between the mismatched, similarly dressed sets of identical-looking twins, especially on their sea adventures. The vast cast of secondary characters appropriately includes people of color.
Complex, engaging, and sure to please a wide audience. (Graphic historical adventure. 8-13)