From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–Phileas Fogg made the voyage in 80 days, and in this imaginative historical adventure his son, Harry Fogg, has made a wager of his own. In 1891, the exuberant young man has bet that he can circle the globe in a steam-powered automobile–the Flash–in 100 days. There's much more at stake in this challenge than just the &`-pound-;6,000 prize. Free-spirited Harry is determined to prove that the automobile is the transportation mode of the future. His rigid and regimented father has reluctantly agreed to cover the cost of the wager, but there's a condition: if Harry wins, he can pursue his motorcar dreams, but if he loses, he must get serious and pursue a professional career that his father deems more befitting an English gentleman. Accompanied by his gifted but quirky mechanic; an abrasive, foppish “minder” who's there to make sure the rules of the wager are followed; and an intriguing female reporter, Harry and his crew face many obstacles. Some are natural, some mechanical, and some human. Most troubling is the fact that someone–most likely one of the passengers–is apparently trying to sabotage the Flash. Blackwood's steampunkish romp has a touch of humor and a great deal of heart, which brings readers fully onboard as they feverishly turn pages in this race against the clock.–Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Let the extreme road trip begin: wild man Harry is never one to walk away from a wager. The young man-about-town succumbs to the challenge of mean-spirited businessmen who view him as an easy mark, challenging him to drive his newfangled steam-powered motor car around the world. He can board ships as necessary with the contraption, but he must arrive back in London within 100 days. It’s 1891, and the world does not trust the promise of the automobile. Along with an observer and a journalist, Harry is joined by his trustworthy mechanic, and the unlikely foursome sets forth on a hair-raising adventure. Danger lurks at every turn—Cossacks, kidnappers, and garden-variety outlaws—as do mechanical failures and all manner of mayhem. And who knows if observer Charles and charming journalist Elizabeth are really undercover saboteurs? The journey is fun and suspenseful, and, of course, our hero prevails—barely. Grades 6-9. --Anne OMalley