From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-A predictable read with stereotyped characters, yet one that will likely appeal to fans of the series. Continuing his previous adventures from Luke 1849-On the Golden Trail (Morrow, 1999), the 12-year-old protagonist leaves his prairie home to travel with his Uncle Eli on a ship from Boston, bound for California. The excitement begins soon after they depart, with readers easily picking up on the shady character of one of the passengers, Mr. Browning. Luke and his buddy Toby befriend the lonely cabin boy, whom they later discover is actually an orphan girl. She is headed for California to claim the gold mine that her father left her, but someone onboard wants to get to it first. As the voyage progresses, there are encounters with sharks and pirates, and some mystery as to who is actually the bad guy-but not much. Intermittent black-and-white sketches capture the drama and humor of the text. A slim read with a nice, neat conclusion.Julie G. Shatterly, Gaston County Public Library, Gastonia, NC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Luke Reed, fresh from his adventures in Luke 1849--On the Golden Trail
(1999), finds himself in Boston in 1850, ready to depart on a clipper ship with his Uncle Eli for gold rush^-crazed California. Soon Luke and his friend Toby are setting off around the Horn. Along the way, they taste the boredom of shipboard life and bad food and water, meet a friendly cabin boy (who is actually a girl in disguise) and some unfriendly fellow passengers. They also run across secret coded messages, storms, sharks, and pirates. The plot moves along faster than a clipper ship riding a strong wind, but character development and plausibility are often jettisoned in favor of the fast pace. At the novel's end, Luke and his friends have overcome the pirates and sharks, but they haven't reached their destination. Apparently they are waiting for the series' next installment to take them to California. This isn't great historical fiction, but it's a lot more fun than the many ponderous examples of the genre. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved