Commended for the 2011 Best Books for Kids and Teens
Robin Starveling, aka Noah Vaile, is scooped off the streets of seventeenth-century Bristol, England, and dragged onboard a ship bound for Virginia by the murderous William Thatcher, who needs a servant with no past and no future to aid him in a nefarious plot to steal gold. Starveling fits the bill perfectly since he lives nowhere and has no parents. Aboard the ship, Starveling makes friends with a young cabin boy, Peter Fence.
Together the two boys suffer through a frightening hurricane and are shipwrecked on the mysterious Isle of Devils. They solve the ciphers embedded in emblems found in Thatchers sea chest, which has washed up with the wreck, then make their way through gloomy forests and tortuous labyrinths to a cave on the shore that houses a wizard-like old man. Beset by danger and villainy on every side, they finally discover the old mans identity and unearth a treasure that is much rarer and finer than gold.
Lynne Kositsky is an award-winning poet and the author of several novels in Penguin's Our Canadian Girl series, including Rachel: A Mighty Big Imagining, which won the White Raven Award. Lynne's fiction has been nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson, White Pine, Golden Oak, Hackmatack Awards, in 2006 she won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Youth for The Thought of High Windows. She lives in Vineland, Ontario, with her husband, Michael, a composer, and her two shelties, who provided the template for Tempest, the doggy character in Minerva's Voyage.
"The setting on both the sip and the tropical island are stunning. Readers will gasp with horror at conditions on the ship, tremble at the storm scenes and thrill to the tension around the solving of the puzzle. The pace of the plot is relentless and this book is impossible to put down."
"The book's greatest strength comes from the delightful character of Robin Starveling, someone whom the reader quickly befriends as he humorously battles against his own wickedness and the abuse of his disgusting employer. It is easy to team up with Robin and Fence as the line of good and evil clearly divides the boys from the murderers Scratcher and Proule whose lust for treasure endangered the entire ship. Boys and girls alike will be quickly drawn into the adventure as they puzzle out the clues to the treasure along with Fence and Starveling."
"With her new novel, Toronto writer Lynne Kositsky has delivered an action-packed adventure that doesn't let up from its opening scene. The novel...speeds along at a breakneck pace, building cliffhanger upon cliffhanger."