Based on a true story, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.
1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.
1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…
With her trademark “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves “a true work of magic” (V.E. Schwab, author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) about friendship, sacrifice, brutality, and forgiveness.
Kidd (Things in Jars) unfurls parallel narratives of two nine-year-old children in her intriguing latest, based on a historical shipwreck. In 1628, after the mother of a girl named Mayken dies, she sails from Holland to the Dutch East Indies with her nursemaid to join her merchant father. Mayken's precocious nature leads her to explore the ship, called the Batavia. While dressed as a boy in order to pass unnoticed, Mayken searches deep into the Batavia for a monster that crew members claim lives there. In 1989, a boy named Gil goes to live on Beacon Island in Australia after his mother's death. Gil now lives with his fisherman grandfather, Joss Hurley. This is where the Batavia sank, and an excavation of the wreck is now underway. Gil is intrigued by the project and by the rumor that a ghost still haunts the island. Meanwhile, a feud escalates between Joss and Roper, another fisherman, that started years ago when Roper's uncle drowned at sea. Kidd effortlessly navigates between the two time periods, highlighting the similarities between Mayken's and Gil's lives and the increasing dangers they face. Readers will be swept up in this fast-paced narrative.