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TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by Michele Torrey


by Michele Torrey

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 2003
ISBN: 0-375-82338-7
Publisher: Knopf

It’s 1519 and the plague has struck Spain. Mateo Macías de Ávila buries his parents, burns his farm, and sets out with his dog, Ugly, looking for a future. In an old inn reeking of smoke and half-drunken men, Mateo meets a recruiter and signs away two years of his life for a voyage to an unknown destination. Mateo meets Rodrigo Nieto, who tells him, “If we are lucky, half of us will return. It is the way of the sea. And that, my friend, is what I call adventure.” As cabin boy, cook, musician, and artist, Mateo is indeed in for an adventure. Sailing under Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese captain swearing allegiance to King Carlos of Spain, Mateo and Rodrigo hear stories of two-headed monsters, cannibals, and sea monsters standing between them and the riches of the Spice Islands. In their bid to sail west to get to the Far East and return home by circumnavigating the globe, Mateo and his fellow voyagers experience murder, mutiny, marooning, starvation, beautiful native women, a forest of ghosts, menacing seawolves, and a graveyard of mummified giants. Young readers will be entranced by Torrey’s descriptions of starving sailors eating maggots, rats, leather, and sawdust, and of executions and bloody warfare. The writing is lively; readers will feel as if they have been right there with Mateo on one of the greatest voyages of discovery ever. This deserves to be in the hands of every reader who loves history and adventure. (map, glossary, afterword, bibliography, bibliography for young readers) (Historical fiction. 12+)