cover image Around the World in 100 Days

Around the World in 100 Days

Gary Blackwood, Dutton, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-42295-2

Positioned as a sequel of sorts to Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, Blackwood's story centers on Harry, the carefree son of legendary adventurer Phileas Fogg. Harry bets men at his father's Reform Club £6,000 that he can drive his car, the Flash, around the world in 100 days (the motorcar may be shipped across bodies of water). Impulsive Harry is joined by his friend/mechanic, an "impartial observer" (really, the uptight son of one of his competitors), and a feisty reporter. Together, they face a near collision with a train, raging wildfires, sabotage, and even kidnapping. Blackwood (The Great Race) ably infuses their voyage with coming-of-age themes: Not only does Harry want to "prove the worth of the Flash and of motorcars in general," but he also wants to prove himself to his father, who has made Harry promise that if he loses, he will "take up some profession appropriate for a gentleman." Newspaper dispatches and various details about the countries they cross—from the landscape to food and politics—further enliven an adventure that makes good on its innovative premise. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)