The year is 2055, and the world’s last steamship is making its final voyage from France to Canada and the United States. The passage list includes a diverse group of travelers who are excited to be part of history. Their enthusiasm soon turns to frustration as the ship’s technology systematically fails and they lose all contact with the outside world. When the ship runs aground and subsequently sinks, the surviving passengers and crew find themselves on an uncharted island. Lost in time, the castaways discover that they are destined to be assimilated into an ancient civilization governed by archaic laws that provide little protection and a great deal of danger. The story gets off to a slow start, describing in detail the S.S. Sir Guy Carleton, an old and rather unremarkable steamship. The eight main characters are then introduced as they board the ship. While they are interesting and international, they are also stereotypical. The group includes a mysterious Belgium, self-centered American siblings, an Olympic hopeful, and an intellectual German. Once the ship sinks, the action picks up. The teenagers are captured and separated, and they struggle to survive in a primitive society. When circumstances bring them back together, they realize that finding out “when” they are is just as important as “where” they are. The book ends with a cliff-hanger as the teens find themselves in a desert with few resources and many unanswered questions. It is to be noted that the author’s intertwining of foreign languages in the characters’ dialog may prove frustrating to some readers. Reviewer: Lynne Farrell Stover; Ages 12 to 18.
Gr 7 Up—Its 2055 and the S. S. Sir Carlton is the last existing steamship in the world set to go on its final cross-Atlantic voyage. Shadowing this fateful sail is the highly celebrated maiden voyage of the Sunflyer, a solar powered luxury ocean vessel of the future. The Sunflyer's roster is filled with the world's A-list celebrities and society elite while the Carlton's roster is more eclectic, reflective of a diverse group of passengers wanting to experience a moment in history. Among this group of passengers are eight teens, each believing they are on the verge of a newly promising journey to fulfill their own individual future goals: Jenny the Olympic hopeful; Francois the industry heir; siblings Leigh and Julie; Emile the chocolate heir; Eleanor the reluctant traveler; Hans who promised to guard his parents' nautical antiques borrowed by the ship; and Linh the card shark. En route, the ship loses all technological contact and runs up on an undetected land mass. Everyone onboard survives except for eight crew members. The Carlton survivors are thrown for yet another jolt when they are taken hostage by a group of medieval knights and are then handed over to a group of soldiers who only speak Latin, claiming to be Roman Legionnaires. This work provides vast opportunities to discuss and compare the ethical issues of a tech-dependent world vs. one dependent on natural resources. Readers will enjoy this epic time travel adventure. The storyline starts off a little slow, but eventually picks up. For where fantasy is in high demand.—Sabrina Carnesi, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, VA