Thursday, December 13, 2007

All Sail Set

A Romance of the Flying Cloud
by Armstrong Sperry

Ships enchant Enoch Thacher, which makes East Boston—where ships are built, docked, and sailed from—his paradise. His friend the old captain Messina Clarke teaches him the ways of the sea and tells him yarns of when he was a young man and sailed the world. After the sudden death of his father, the fourteen-year-old must find work to support his mother, and turns to Donald McKay, a friend of his father and designer of clipper ships. Fate brings Enoch and the most famous clipper ever built, the Flying Cloud, together from the time she is just a model on McKay’s desk. The boy watches the construction of the Cloud from blueprints on up, and knows that someday he will sail aboard her. Enoch leaps at the chance when it comes, and signs aboard for the Cloud’s second voyage—on the dangerous passage around Cape Horn to California and then on to China. Can the crew—and the ship—endure and survive the hardships?
Enoch’s journey is filled with new adventures, danger, and ancient seafaring stories, all in only 171 pages, making it a nice introduction to epics of the sea for the younger readers. Overall, All Sail Set reminded me of a Misty of Chincoteague aimed at boys; for the love of a horse, for the love of a ship, and growing up along the way. But the characters were sadly flat, with only a couple sticking in the reader’s mind after the last page. The adventure-loving reader will enjoy it more than the emotional one.

The third book I’ve read and reviewed for the Seafaring Challenge hosted by I Heart Paperbacks. Only one more book to go before my goal of Admiral! Read others’ reviews at the Seafaring Tales Blog.

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