This caper initially seems at odds with its doomed setting, yet Mone quickly entices readers with criminal intrigue, characters who range from eccentric to entirely ordinary, and, of course, the singular setting that is the Titanic. Among the more ordinary characters are Patrick and James Waters, Belfast brothers who work on board, burly James as a boiler room trimmer and bookish Patrick as a steward. Patrick, 12, becomes embroiled in a tug-of-war between Harry Widener (of Harvard library fame), a collector of rare books, and Rockwell and Berryman, two rogues determined to nab Widener’s prized copy of Sir Francis Bacon’s Essaies. While Rockwell and Berryman’s attempts at thievery lend a comedic note (Berryman dons ridiculous disguises, while pretentious Rockwell eats incessantly and praises his accomplice’s “delightfully malleable” morals), the bond between Patrick and Widener gives the story heart. Mone displays solid knowledge of the facts: there are numerous real-life cameos on the ship, and his descriptions of shipboard life, the Titanic’s sinking, and the survivors’ rescue are impressively vivid. Ages 9–12. Agent: Ken Wright, Writers House. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2012 Release date: 03/13/2012 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.