Michele Torrey, Author . Knopf $15.95 (196p) ISBN 978-0-375-82381-7

In the first of her projected Chronicle of Courage seafaring series, Torrey (To the Edge of the World ) unspools a nail-biting adventure of two brothers, sons of a whaling captain who has died at sea. Nick, the narrator, is 15 when he and his older brother, Dexter, enlist for a tour of service aboard the whaler Sea Hawk in 1851. Quickly nicknamed Bones for his skinny frame, Nick endures relentless abuse from older shipmates and the cruel Captain Ebenezer Thorndike. Dexter, defending Nick, receives gruesome punishments, and one night Nick's ribs and nose are broken from beatings, and rats and cockroaches thrown into his bed. The brothers' plan to desert backfires and only intensifies Thorndike's animosity toward them—as does the growing mutual attraction between Nick and the captain's beautiful daughter. All of these events unfold against the backdrop of the whaling itself, a gory and messy business for which Nick's father's descriptions have left the boy unprepared: "The blood was hot and horrible and I wanted to cry. Whaling was nothing like I'd imagined." A shipwreck in the Arctic brings other dire challenges, all of them dramatic and many of them grim (a shipmate's cannibalism, a grave raided by a bear). Torrey's sharply focused prose gives each development the ring of credibility, and those who like survival tales will be rapt. Ages 10-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 197 pages - 978-1-4156-3751-7
Paperback - 197 pages - 978-0-440-41886-3
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-34788-4
Library Binding - 197 pages - 978-0-375-92381-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-307-54879-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-9484-6
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