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Gr 5-9 Tom Tin's life has taken a turn for the worse ever since he took possession of the Jolly Stone, a sought-after diamond as big as a doorknob. A wealthy merchant, Mr. Goodfellow, has sentenced Tom's father to debtors' prison and Tom to an island in the South Seas on a convict ship. When Tom and four fellow castaways escape from the cannibal-infested islands on a broken-down boat, their provisions and fuel run out, forcing them to draw threads to see who will die so that the rest can live. Just before the axe is wielded, they run across two stranded sailors who use force to take over Tom's ship and lead the castaways into the hands of slave traders. Thanks to Tom's seafaring upbringing and loads of luck, the boys survive one frightening episode after another, eventually bringing Tom back to London where he can retrieve the Jolly Stone and seek revenge on Mr. Goodfellow. A treasure chest packed with seaworthy adventures, including dangerous encounters with slave traders, cannibals, pirates and the notorious Flying Dutchman, The Castaways leaves readers breathless with its twists and turns. Just when readers might think Tom is out of trouble, he comes face to face with another challenge, developing his character from a fearful boy set on revenge to a mature young man who discovers that you cannot put a price on happiness.-Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted October 27, 2008
THE CASTAWAYS is the third book of the trilogy including THE CONVICTS and THE CANNIBALS, and starts off with Tom Tin and his companions adrift at sea. They have escaped the punishment of being sent to Australia as convicts only to find themselves aboard a steamship that is running dangerously low on fuel and with no idea of where they are. They find a ship that is apparently deserted. Fearing that it may be the ghost ship Flying Dutchman, they clamber aboard anyway, perhaps on a course toward certain doom. <BR/><BR/>Then they locate two men stranded on an iceberg, and take them on board, but when Tom hears them plotting to get rid of him, he is just sure that they are castaways from the very ship they are on, and probably have killed all of the previous crew members. <BR/><BR/>In a riotous episode, the castaways take Tom and his companions prisoner and prepare to sell them as slaves. Tom and the kids manage to escape that fate and sail to England, where they meet with more adversity and imprisonment. <BR/><BR/>My only complaint with THE CASTAWAYS is that there are a number of references to episodes that happened in the previous two books, and if you haven't read them, you must use your imagination to get you up to speed on the story line. <BR/><BR/>A rollicking, fast-moving adventure that melds neatly with the facts of early shipping, pirates, the slave trade, and transporting convicts to Australia. There are characters you will love and a story that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next, complete with a very satisfying, surprise ending.
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Posted January 14, 2010
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