Wolverton, Barry. The Vanishing Island. [The Chronicles of the Black Tulip series, volume 1]. Walden Pond/Harper Collins. 2015. $16.99. 338p. 978-0-06-222190-2. Ages 9-13. P8Q9
High adventure follows 12-year-old Bren Owen from his boring life in Map, Britannica, onto a sea adventure in the first of this series set in an alternate version of 1599, the Age of Discovery. Facing the “worst job on earth,” Bren finds a mysterious object that gives him the opportunity to gain a way onto the Albatross, bent on locating places from Marco Polo’s quest. The fast-paced plot has believable characters who suffer danger and hazards on and off the sea as Bren works to crack a secret code and save his life in an exciting book that blends cultures from the East and the West. Young readers will love the depictions of violence and gore in a brutally honest view of life over four centuries ago. This mix of fantasy, history, and youthful angst will appeal to a diversity of readers and promises an electrifying sequel.
September 2015 review by Nel Ward.