ISBN 9781770863057 | 5.375″ x 8″ | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 13+ | 160 pp
ISBN 9781770863064 | EBOOK | $9.99
Curriculum: Character Education – Family | History – Asian History, European History | Language Arts – Adventure, Historical Fiction, Strong Female Protagonists | Health and Sports – Substance Abuse
Fifteen-year-old Kate’s dreams of a life of adventure have, so far, only led her as far as her brother Jack’s workshop, where she tests his inventions — motors, gadgets, even weapons. But when Jack engineers a trip for Kate to China — telling her she is going to meet a prospective suitor — she discovers that Jack is not just a hobbyist; his creations are used by the British Secret Service, and now Jack expects Kate to deliver an important item to the brilliant teenage doctor, Henry Tattersall.
Kate’s seemingly simple trip turns into adventure when Tattersall falls ill, and Kate ends up facing off against opium traders in Canton. But now that her dreams are being fulfilled, does Kate have the courage to see her unexpected mission through to the end?
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“Good morning,” Sir Tom called, stepping along the rail to see her work.
“Good morning, Grandfather.”
“Difficult to sketch once we’re under way?”
“Yes, indeed.” Kate nodded. “And this view isn’t very interesting to draw. It’s endless jungle. I wonder if tigers are in there?”
“Perhaps.” He swivelled around. “Look, there’s a junk off our port bow. Why don’t you draw that?”
A square-sailed vessel, about forty feet long, approached them at speed. Kate peered at the odd boat and thought it would make a nice subject. She started adding it into her sketch while Sir Tom moved off towards the cabin. After a few moments of drawing the high, wide squared bow, low hull, and broad stern, examining her subject and trying to capture the shape of the craft, Kate noticed the junk was tacking in a decidedly aggressive manner, using the wind to draw near.
“Grandfather!” she called. “Doesn’t that boat seem to be coming up on us?”
Sir Tom moved to the rail and took a long look. Kate strolled over beside him. On the junk, men were visible, filling the deck.
“Who are they, Grandfather?”
“Pirates,” Sir Tom spat, then he turned and yelled, “Men! On deck! To me!”
“Really?” Kate looked at the junk again. “In that small boat? Don’t pirates usually have warships, with cannons?”
“These aren’t the buccaneers of old, Kate, sailing out of Port Royal. I’ll wager most of them are poor, desperate men with nothing to lose.”
“We can barely see them. How do you know they’re pirates?”
“The only reason to have dozens of men massed on deck would be for a boarding party. Now get below.”
“Men!” Colonel Bob appeared at the rail. “Prepare to repel boarders!”
“Can’t we outrun them?” Kate asked, hoping for an escape. This is wrong. There must be a way to avoid bloodshed.
“Our steam’s not up yet, we’ll have to fight.” Sir Tom looked out at the approaching boat. “They’ll have to tack again before their attack run. We’ve time to arm ourselves properly. Men!” he bellowed. “Draw weapons from the stores!”
“Tell cook to hold breakfast!” Colonel Bob added, apparently more concerned with his morning meal.
The crew scurried, and orders were shouted all around, the boat’s ratter barking in alarm. Kate made for the ladder, jumped down the three steps into the hall, and rushed to the cabin the ladies were sharing. She found Mrs. Farewell dressing. Kate pounced on her strongbox, tripping on her skirt hem, and drew her pistol, hands shaking. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I don’t know if I can use it. Could I actually shoot someone? Maybe I should give it to Grandfather.
“What’s all this?” Mrs. Farewell asked, clearly alarmed.
“We’re being attacked by pirates,” Kate gasped. “We have to defend ourselves.”
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ISBN 9781770863057 | 5.375" x 8" | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 13+
Fifteen-year-old Kate’s dreams of a life of adventure have, so far, only led her as far as her brother Jack’s workshop, where she tests his inventions. But when Jack engineers a trip for Kate to China, she ends up facing off against opium traders in Canton. Does Kate have the courage to see her unexpected mission through to the end? (read more)
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