The fourth installment of this enjoyable time-travel series for preteens takes readers to a lesser-known historical event than those in the earlier books: the mutiny on Henry Hudson’s ship, the Discovery, in 1611.
Jonah and Katherine land on board the icy ship just when the mutineers cast Hudson and his remaining loyal crewmembers adrift, never to be seen again. However, “Second,” the rogue time traveler from the previous episode (Sabotaged, 2010) takes charge again, trying to get the children to fix the damage he’s done to time, or so he says. As Katherine remains invisible, Jonah takes on a disguise as Hudson’s teenage son, which forces him to climb the rigging on the ship and to deal with the egomaniacal Hudson and treacherous, starving crewmen. When Second allows Hudson to find the elusive Northwest Passage, the children begin to worry that time can’t be repaired. Fortunately, Haddix has another sci-fi trick up her sleeve and keeps the story suspenseful and tight. Jonah appears to be maturing a bit, although he still has trouble with his impulse control. Best of all, the story feels like real history, with believable characters and plausible events. It will likely spark interest in young readers, especially with help from the afterword, which directly addresses middle schoolers.
Another action-filled and suspenseful historical thriller. (Science fiction. 8-12)