Lord Kirkle's Money (Beyond the Western Sea Series #2)

Lord Kirkle's Money (Beyond the Western Sea Series #2)

4.4 5
by Avi

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Maura and Patrick have escaped the desperate poverty and danger of leaving home in Ireland to face even greater peril as they continue their daring voyage to the New World with their friend Laurence Kirkle. Aboard ship, they are crowded into the stench-filled pit of steerage, where they come face to face with illness and death, trying their best comfort and protect


Maura and Patrick have escaped the desperate poverty and danger of leaving home in Ireland to face even greater peril as they continue their daring voyage to the New World with their friend Laurence Kirkle. Aboard ship, they are crowded into the stench-filled pit of steerage, where they come face to face with illness and death, trying their best comfort and protect eight-year-old Bridy, who has lost both her parents. They find themselves at the mercy of fellow passengers--shady characters like Mr. Shagwell, an American in dire need of cash, and the conniving Mr. Clemspool, who sails first-class with young Mr. Grout, haunted by his criminal past. Ahead lies their future in America, fraught with danger and more crisis than they ever anticipated.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It is no small feat replicating the narrative style, character types and intricate plotting of a 19th-century serial novel, but Avi continues to accomplish the task with panache in Book Two of his ongoing saga about a family of poor Irish immigrants and the runaway son of an English lord. Just as good as its predecessor, The Escape from Home (Children's Forecasts, Apr. 1), this story begins where that book left off. Siblings Patrick and Maura O'Connell, aboard the Robert Peel on their way to meet their father in the U.S., are sharing cramped quarters with hundreds of other travelers. Lord Laurence Kirkle, robbed of his fortune, is a stowaway, while his two enemies, Mr. Clemspool and Mr. Grout, enjoy the comforts of first class accommodation. The stew of trouble that begins to simmer on ship comes to full boil when Patrick, Maura and Laurence finally set foot on land and discover just what kind of opportunity awaits them in America. Poverty, wretched working conditions, anti-Irish sentiments and news of Mr. O'Connell's death are only a few of the obstacles crossing the youngsters' paths. The future holds some promise for the characters by the time this book ends, but plenty of loose ends remain to whet appetites for another installment. Adventure lovers should not be intimidated by the thickness of this volume. Its short chapters full of clever narrative hooks and fast-paced adventure will keep most readers on the edge of their seats. Ages 11-14. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Avi launched his trilogy, "Beyond the Western Sea," beginning with The Escape from Home which follows the lives of three young adults ready to emigrate to America. A brother and sister, from Ireland are going to join their father and a young English lord, is running away from home to escape the cruelty of his brother and the shame of a theft he's committed. The story continues in Lord Kirkle's Money, where we see the characters struggle to find their ways in America against the backdrop of the Lowell mills and Irish prejudice. Readers follow them through a setting that brings alive the period, and the action is filled with cliff-hangers reminiscent of serials written in the time period of the setting and characters that are downright Dickensian.
The ALAN Review - Donald R. Gallo
Adventure on the high seas, intrigue on the back streets, and a motley cast of characters propel this second half of Avi's lengthy two-part story focusing on poor Irish immigrants seeking a better life in the mill town of Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1851 and the prejudice that greets them there. If "yer be" attracted by novels like Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke and Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, then Beyond the Western Sea will suit "yer fancy." The books are filled with mysterious doings, with villains aplenty, and enough historical details to make the 1850s come alive for readers of any age. Although there is enough action in Book Two to carry it on its own, interested readers should start with Book One to fully understand the motivations of the characters, young and old, and the value of Lord Kirkle's money. (Another clue is that Book Two begins with chapter 75.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9This sequel to Beyond the Western Sea: Book One (Orchard, 1996) continues the adventures of Patrick and Maura O'Connell and their friends Mr. Horatio Drabble and Laurence Kirkle as they sail to America. This book begins with the four on-board ship, with Laurence a stowaway and Maura, Patrick, and Mr. Drabble traveling in steerage. True to its Dickensian flavor, the villains are also on board. On arrival in Boston, all end up in the mill city of Lowell, MA. Patrick and Maura's father has died and the children find themselves facing anti-Irish sentiment, a greedy mill owner, poverty, inhuman working conditions, and, of course, all the villains. The action jumps back and forth from one person to another as their paths cross and recross. All characters "coincidentally" come together at the climax and the villains are vanquished. This is a well-written, but overly ambitious work that suffers from an overabundance of characters. The lack of a major hero and a primary villain fragments the work. Character development is minimal and the many different plots stop and start so often that the focus is lost. Avi's ability to use words and dialogue to develop a strong sense of time and place is evident and his theme that all people are created equal and that evil cannot be blamed on anything but evil individuals is strongly and clearly presented. For that reader who enjoys a well-written historical novel and who will not be deterred by the two-volume length or the complexity of the plots, this will satisfy if not excite.Wendy D. Caldiero, New York Public Library

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Beyond the Western Sea Series, #2
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.86(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Friday, January 24, 1851

Chapter 75

Farewell, England!

A brisk, chill wind and a strong tide bore the Robert Peel down the Mersey River, away from the city of Liverpool and out upon the rolling Irish Sea.

On the main deck stood three hundred and fifty emigrants, most of them Irish. They were of all ages, from children in mothers' arms to the old and hobbled. Virtually everyone was dressed shabbily, though here and there--like plump plums in an otherwise poor pudding--could be seen those of a richer sort. Well-off or poor, most were cold, many weak and ill. All were pondering what would happen to them next. But now that England had been left behind--and the ships gray sails bulked large even as her high, stout prow plowed the waves--there was little the passengers could do but wait anxiously for some word from the ship's captain.

Maura O'Connell, her brother, Patrick, and their friend, .Mr. Horatio Drabble, pressed side by side against the ship's bulk, each lost in thought.

Mr. Drabble, long, lanky, expanded his thin chest and breathed deeply of the rich sea air, hardly believing his good fortune. Just a few days ago he had been trapped in the insufferable misery of Mrs. Sonderbye's Liverpool basement. Now he was sailing to America, the fulfillment of a dream long held. Watching England's coast fade in the distance, he felt the weight of past disappointments drop away. As far as he was concerned, he had already become a new man. His smile was as wide as his face.

Maura O'Connell--brown hair blowing, red shawl aflutter--thought of her mother back in Ireland. While Maura could envision the womanwrapped in black, saying her beads, the girl could not imagine where in the ruins of Kilonny Village she might have found shelter. The thought brought tears to her eyes.

And was not her brother, Patrick, too young, too headstrong? And did she not bear full responsibility for him?

Then there was the actor, Horatio Drabble. Though he had been truly kind and helpful to them in Liverpool, Maura was not certain she knew him. There were times he seemed to be from quite another world, not because he was English, but because he, like Patrick, struck her as more boy than man.

When Maura thought, with some self-chiding, that soon they would be in America with their father, and she could turn over all her responsibilities to him. How well he'd care for them! Maura wanted little but some peace, some quiet, find some work to call her own. How fine that her father, rich man that he was, would provide it. The idea prompted one of Maura's rare smiles.

Patrick O'Connell had no interest in observing either the passing scenery or the other passengers. Nor was he pondering the future. He could think of nothing but Laurence hidden below decks. So it was that he stared fixedly at CaptainRickles--splendid in gray uniform and red mustache--who as standing before the main mast, calling commands to the sailors in the high rigging. As Patrick watched, the first mateapproached the captain, who introduced him to Mr. Drabble's friend, Mr. Grout, and his stout companion whose name Patrick; did not know.

So great was Patrick's worry about Laurence that he simply assumed the subject of their discussion was stowaways.

The notion filled him with dread. He must free Laurence.

Satisfied that Maura was intent upon her own thoughts, Patrick murmured, 'I'm going to watch from over there."

"Don't go far," Mr. Drabble cautioned. "They'll be letting, us below soon."

Small and wiry, Patrick had little trouble slipping through the crowd to the opposite side of the ship. Once there, he climbed the ratlines a ways and held on, toes curling over the ropes. From this roost he studied the main deck in search of some entry into the bottom hold. Only now did he admit to himself that he had no clear idea where or what the bottom hold was. In all his twelve years he had never been on such a boat. The words had made sense in Liverpool. when Fred told him where he'd hidden Laurence.

They didn't make sense now.

Looking about, Patrick noticed a sailor emerge from a closet like structure almost directly below the main mast. Would that be a way? he asked himself.

As soon as the sailor moved on, Patrick climbed down from the lines and stole a look inside the small structure. A narrow stairway led down. After checking to see if anyone watching him, Patrick stepped into the alcove, made the sign of the cross, grasped the guide rope, and started to descend.

The first level he reached was dim. Long rows of what appeared to be wide shelves stretched forward and aft into darkness. As for cargo, he saw none. The steps continued down. He went on.

At the next level Patrick discovered a few candles set in mounted glass bulbs. Their small yellow flames illuminated neat rows of boxes and crates. Here, surely, was the bottom hold.

Taking up one of the candles, Patrick made his waytoward the bow of the ship only to come to a sudden, heart pounding stop. Before him gaped an open hatchway. One more step and he would have plummeted down.

From the open square of the hatch a ladder dropped into darkness as black as his hair. Was there yet another, third hold below? Fred's words echoed in his mind: the bottom hold. Patrick stepped onto the ladder and began to climb slowly down.

Candlelight revealed a dark cavelike expanse embraced by enormous arching timbers. Countless casks, barrels, and chests, piled one atop the other, were deployed in rows that seemed to vanish, fore and aft, into murky blackness. The air was humid, clotted with the stench of rot and filth. Sounds of sloshing bilgewater, the creaks and groans of the plunging ship, filled his ears. This, Patrick told himself with dread, must be the bottom hold.

Leaving the ladder, Patrick moved warily in the direction he thought was forward, for Fred had also said the bow.

As Patrick crept along--the rough planking pricking his bare feet--he tried to examine each and every crate in fear of missing the one that bore the telltale X in a circle.

Upon reaching the bow, Patrick held the candle up. A few feet from where he stood he saw a coffinlike box wedged between two great beams as far forward as possible. On the side facing him, Patrick could just make out Fred's mark.

Patrick ran to the box and tapped on it. "Laurence!" he called. "Are you there, Laurence?" When no answer came, he began to claw away at the boards.

Copyright ) 1996 by Avi

Beyond The Western Sea. Copyright � by John Avi. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

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Lord Kirkle's Money 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Avi is a great writer of historical fiction. In this story he creates interesting characters and suspense. However, the story is a little too drawn out and did not leave a lasting impression. This book does not compare to Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After the major players from 'Escape from Home', the first book in the series, finally board the ship for Boston, the action still keeps going. The families in steerage are miserable, being a stowaway is stressful and lonely, the first class passengers get to know (and despise) each other. The crew of the ship is nasty and the passengers are forced into close quarters and filth, yet held in contempt by the very people who arrange it so they live that way. Of course passengers die on the ship so a little girl is brought into the mix when her parents die- the stowaway is able to leave the ship in a creative manner- engineered by Patrick. Like so many immigrants, these characters are overwhelmed when they reach Massachusetts because they have not arrived in Paradise. More hard work awaits them with the added anti-Irish sentiments flooding the East during the mid-1800's. Young readers will become outraged when they read of the terrible living conditions- again- and the treatment these people receive at the hands of those in power. There are enough twists in the plot to keep it interesting, but simple enough to keep track of the characters and their shifting attitudes and loyalties. The pace is fast and suspenseful, the chapters are of varying lengths making it somewhat difficult to put down! An excellent introduction to immigrant's lives and struggles during times of great poverty. Avi needs to write a third book to complete this set to explore how difficult it was to establish a life in a new place, and to see how difficult it was to strike it rich in the California Gold Rush.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Life in Ireland and England had to be worse than the difficulties faced by the immigrants in the late 1800's. This is a well written historical fiction that keeps the reader's interest from cover to cover. Speaking of covers, this one is not appealing and makes one think it is an old, dull, book, which it isn't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I laughed, cried, worried, and feared for all the characters in this book. And now that finished the book I couldn't believe it was over, this story. It wasn't right. AVI please right the sequel to this book. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good Job Avi for making this Book full of adventure. Maura and Patrick contenue there Riskfilled Journey to America where Death, and Danger Fulfill Each and every step. When they Reach America, They Find that most Americans arn't to Friendly to the Irish, and One American named A Mr. Jerimiah Jenkins Is A Wretched Man who is Filled with Evil toward the Irish.