The Boundless

Kenneth Oppel, Author, Jim Tierney, Illustrator
Kenneth Oppel. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4424-7288-4
Reviewed on: 02/10/2014
Release date: 04/22/2014
Will Everett’s father is just a poor man laying track for the Canadian Pacific Railway until, on the day when the last spike is driven home somewhere in the Rockies, James Everett saves the railroad’s president from an avalanche. Three years later, James is a railroad executive, and he and Will have been invited on the maiden intercontinental trip of the Boundless, the largest train ever assembled at nearly 1,000 cars. This purposefully melodramatic tale is set in a slightly alternate 19th-century North America, where monsters like the mighty sasquatch roam the Canadian wilderness. Will becomes embroiled in a plot to break into a palatial funeral car, along with Maren—the beautiful wire walker of the Zirkus Dante, whose cars are part of the train—and the circus’s mysterious Métis ringmaster, Mr. Dorian. Dangers both natural and supernatural abound, as well as a certain amount of social commentary regarding class and ethnicity. Oppel’s (Such Wicked Intent) imagination and sense of adventure never disappoint, and readers should thrill to this rousing tale as it barrels ahead at full speed. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)
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