With dry wit and a strong Dickensian flavor, this first installment in Avi’s Oliver Cromwell Pitts saga has an 18th-century British boy finding misfortune everywhere he turns. The adventure begins with a flood shaking 12-year-old Oliver awake in his home in Melcombe Regis, “a tenth of a mile from the sea.” Wading through the waterlogged rooms of his three-story house, Oliver discovers that his father is missing. The only clue to Mr. Pitts’s whereabouts is a drenched and almost illegible note that indicates he has rushed off to London to save Oliver’s sister from a disastrous situation. Left behind with no money and an evil man threatening to send him to the poorhouse, Oliver knows his prospects are dim. In the days that follow, they grow even dimmer as he endures a string of captures, risky escapes, and dangerous run-ins with strangers and family members. Every cliffhanger-ending chapter will leave readers on the edge of their seats, wondering how Oliver will manage to survive his latest dilemma. Brimming with fast-paced action, evocative settings, and villains, this book reveals yet another side of Avi’s talent. Ages 8–12. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/20/2017 Release date: 05/16/2017 Genre: Children's
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