Son of Fortune
In the 1860s, a lumberman from the great Pacific Northwest, Aiden Lynch, flees Seattle after causing the death of one man. Desperate to escape, Aiden accepts a challenge for fare on a ship traveling to Alaska, does battle with a shark, saves the life of a Swedish sailor, is brutally attacked and left without a penny to his name, and finally wins a unforeseen opportunity in a high-stakes card game. After being befriended by the wealthy Christopher Worthington, the two agree to pursue a business in shipping guano (bird poop) up and down the coast of California.
The rest of this unusual novel changes Aidan forever as he experiences firsthand how wealth grows off the backs of Chinese slave laborers who are virtually imprisoned on an island and forced to accomplish backbreaking labor. An agreement with one strong-spirited Chinese worker will come to no good end and will haunt him later on when he falls in love with a beautiful and young Chinese woman back in San Francisco.
This novel reminds readers of how much suffering and travesties of judgment make one grow up and mature much more quickly than one would normally do in more sheltered environments. The unfolding of this rapidly changing plot compels readers to flip the pages rapidly, wholly engaged in the twists and turns of this story with surprising fights, debates, warnings, and opportunities. The debacles of the Chinese immigrants, desperately poor people, and the unemployed provide the essence of action that forces Aiden Lynch to act for the good of those unfortunate people. Superb YA historical fiction!