CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 20. . . . June 6, 2003
Harry Johnson shook his head. "As long as he's alive he's a threat. To both of us." He stared at Mr. Grimmond for a moment. "He's been given a job with the circus. Did I tell you? Someone else might see him and recognize him. Have you thought of that?" He turned on his heel and went out, repeating to himself as he went down the stairs,"He's a threat as long as he's alive. And, by gall, there's something I can do about that. I'm going to the circus."
When a dangerously overcrowded passenger vessel, the SS Asia, is forced to make sail in 1882 in Georgian Bay, Ontario, one of its passengers is still happy about the departure. Tommy Smith, a young orphan, snuck aboard after witnessing the accidental murder of a man intending to stop the ship's dangerous passage. When Tommy survives the sinking, he knows that he should be happy, until he finds out that he is being blamed for the murder. Luckily, he is believed to have perished along with the vessel and is able to take on a new identity and a job with the circus, for a while, until his past catches up to him and he is in grave danger yet again.
Tommy's life is a series of amazing thrills, with murder, a shipwreck and the circus thrown in for good measure. The Adventures of Tommy Smith is a book that will have enough adventure for boys, and, with its background of historical fact, it will be enticing to readers interested in late 19th Century Canadiana. Somewhat slow in starting, the story picks up steam rapidly once Tommy is on board the Asia and will keep younger readers engrossed in his story.
Betsy Fraser is the Young Adult Librarian with Calgary Public Library.
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