In this third novel in the early 19th century-set Curse of the Jolly Stone series, Tom Tin and his four companions are lost at sea in a rapidly disintegrating steam boat. The boys face extreme trials until an unmanned sailing vessel appears to save them. Midgley, Tom’s faithful blind companion, thinks it’s the fabled Flying Dutchman, but it soon proves all too real and even more sinister.
The boys rescue two men from an iceberg. Beezley and Moyle teach them how to be sailors, but also plot to kill the too curious Tom and sell the remaining boys into slavery. That plan is thwarted in the Caribbean, where the ship takes on the slave trader a mother and daughter team.
Back in England, Tom hungers for an exchange with the villain Mr. Goodfellow once he unearths the buried Jolly Stone. But one more trial awaits as another adversary takes on a new life that’s out to extinguish both Tom and Midgley’s own.
The Castaways is fast-paced, rollicking adventure with life-threatening dangers in every chapter. Grim and at times surreal, this is Treasure Island meets Lord of the Flies. Ages 12 and up.