More wind-up historical fiction on the order of Moskin's Adam. . . (above), but with a little more substance to the plot and texture to the background. This begins bluntly, with 19th-century Corny Van Loon brooding about the coming fishing season--he has been afraid of going out on the Hudson ever since he fell out of the boat last year and almost drowned. Corny's troubles multiply when his twin cousins sound a midnight shad alarm as an April Fool trick, the men rush to their boats for nothing, and Corny is blamed for the prank. But he has a chance to overcome both his fear and the town's resentment when two steamboats collide. Corny sounds the alarm again and then goes out with the other men in their fishing boats to rescue the crews and passengers from the sinking ships: pat, but St. George's picture of the stern Dutch fishing community gives it an extracurricular edge.