Phantom’s Gold, The


ISBN 9781770862661 | 5.375″ x 8″ | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12 | 320 pp
ISBN 9781770862678 | EBOOK | $9.99

Category: Novels
Curriculum: Character EducationFamily, Responsibility | HistoryCanadian History | Health and SportsSports | Language ArtsAdventure, Mystery



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Thirteen-year-old William McCoy’s life changed forever a year ago when his father died. Now, his mother is moving on … but William still wants to hold on to the past. He sneaks out one night and takes a bus to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia — his father’s home town.

But reuniting with his dad’s family means more than just spending time with his grandparents and cousins; he also encounters the spirit of his great-grandfather, Bill “The Real” McCoy, a notorious rum-runner who has been dead for more than seventy-five years.

With his mother in Toronto fretting about his safety, and his extended family in Nova Scotia struggling to save their home, William takes to the seas in a high-stakes schooner race with more than a trophy at stake; his family, his father’s memory, and the legacy of The Real McCoy are on the line.


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Shortlisted for the 2015 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
A Resource Links Year’s Best of 2013


“This connection between fictional and real characters is artfully constructed; readers learn not only about sailing, but also a bit about 1920s Canadian history. There is so much right about this novel – seamanship, history, narrative – that I would highly recommend it to any young readers.”
Resource Links, Rated ‘E’ for ‘Excellent’



He switched buses in Fredericton. He was nervous because he didn’t know this terminal. He made a point of refilling his water bottle and stood in line at the gate long before his bus was scheduled to leave just to be sure he didn’t miss it. He was about to ask the woman who stood behind him, to confirm that he was in the right line, when he saw that the ticket sticking out of her book read “Halifax.” With just some coins left in his pocket he couldn’t afford to get on the wrong bus.

Roadwork forced a short detour by the ocean before getting back to the Trans-Canada Highway. He scanned the Atlantic. It surged its high tide into the Bay of Fundy. William shivered at the memory of nearly being dragged out to sea. There was nothing out his window right now but darkness punctuated by shafts of moonlight. It reminded him of that night.

He fought back the memory of black sea water knocking him off the cab of the truck. He’d reached shore and clung to the edge of a rock, and the bullying tide had retreated with a hiss. He had escaped the foamy claws that tried to pull him back under.

The bus was miles away from the crash site, but the ocean that filled his bus window was the one from which they’d dragged his father’s dead body. Some kind of shadow seemed to follow the bus along the water. William was too tired to give it much thought. He sat deeper in his seat. He closed his eyes and leaned against the bus window.

Whoosh! Lightning reached across the sky like a white crack zigzagging through black glass. Then, like in a horror movie, a second flash of lightning illuminated the shape of a forty-foot schooner sailing alongside the bus. He jerked his hands up and stared through splayed fingers.

The boat with the red jib sliced through one of the moonbeams. It flooded the cockpit with light. There was no one at the helm. Then a figure appeared in the cockpit. He laid a casual arm on the wheel. He was a big man, and William guessed he was about his grandfather’s age. He wore an old-style rain slicker and fedora. Those were felt hats men wore in black and white movies.

The look on his face as he stared at William was all business, right here, right now. It sent a chill down William’s back. A snap of the man’s hand magically filled the sails with wind. The schooner surged ahead. Spray burst from her bow. On the stern of the boat William read the name Fathom.

William blinked and peered out to the ocean: just rain tick, tick, ticking against the window like his mother’s acrylic fingernails on the kitchen table when she brooded. He pulled his jacket tighter against the chill of a bad dream. Could he have slept with his eyes open?

Sheets of water splashed the window. Lightning pitchforked across the sky. Thunder double-boomed through the night like cannon fire from a distant battle. He felt alone and a long way from home. That would all change when he got to his grandparents.

Teacher’s Guide


About the Author

Murphy, Eric - works as an actor and writer. He sails when visiting relatives in Halifax, and in Toronto where he lives with his family and their Jack Russel, Fitzroy. (read more)

Books by the Author

Bermuda Shipwreck, The - ISBN 9781770864795 | 5.375″ x 8″ | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12 | 320 pp Category: Novels Curriculum: Character Education – Family, Responsibility | History – Canadian History | Health and Sports – Sports | Language Arts – Adventure, Mystery Find     Synopsis Sailing, scuba diving, and beautiful weather. It seems like a […]
Dead Man’s Boot, The - Eric Murphy
ISBN 9781770864443 | 5.375" x 8" | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12

The dramatic follow-up to the popular The Phantom's Gold reunites readers with Will and Harley as they try to defend the wildlife, the environment, and their family and neighbours in the historic town of Lunenburg. (read more)
Phantom’s Gold, The - Eric Murphy
ISBN 9781770862661 | 5.375" x 8" | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12

Shortlisted for the 2015 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
A Resource Links Year's Best of 2013

With his mother in Toronto fretting about his safety, and his extended family in Nova Scotia struggling to save their home, William takes to the seas in a high-stakes schooner race with more than a trophy at stake. (read more)

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