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THE CASTAWAYS by Iain Lawrence


by Iain Lawrence

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-385-73090-7
Publisher: Delacorte

The third episode in Lawrence’s early-19th-century Convicts series takes Tom Tin and his blind, ever-faithful companion Midgely from the South Seas back to London for another run-in with the quite deceptively named Mr. Goodfellow. The ruthless merchant prince isn’t Tom’s only challenge either, as the young traveler generally finds himself in desperate straits, including but not limited to long stretches of drifting helplessly aboard an abandoned ship with a cargo of dead slaves and rotting food, battling a cleaver-wielding child-eater, and being totally paralyzed and buried alive after eating bad shellfish. The author’s continuing debt to Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson remains plain in the latest of his nonstop maritime melodramas, and if many of Tom’s escapes from agonizing death seem downright miraculous, at least it’s easy to tell the bad guys from the good (though some do switch sides), and both ultimately get what’s coming to them. Further sequels are likely. (Historical fiction. 12-14)