Orion Poe is an inquisitive young boy of eleven living on the coast of Maine with his crotchety but loving grandfather who keeps the lighthouse. The night of a hurricane-type storm, Orion notices a ship being swept toward the rocks by monstrous waves, and goes to investigate. He finds a ship called Lady Jane and a man with a purple nose. After he brings him home, Orion and his grandfather care for the injured man who harbors a secret. After their house is attacked by strange-looking men, Orion heads off on an adventure to discover what happened to famed explorer John Franklin.
Will Summerhouse’s ORION POE AND THE LOST EXPLORER is a grand adventure that leads Orion, with the reader in tow, from Maine to Canada to an island with creatures called “bearwolves” and which houses secrets of its own. There is much to keep the reader involved and invested in the story: a narcissistic, nefarious treasure hunter, a colorful ship crew, an egotistical leader, a pack of industrious orphans, and situations that require creative thinking to get out of among them. ORION POE also deals with themes every child can relate to. The thrill of adventure the most obvious, but also fears (getting lost, having to be independent, standing up for what’s right regardless of the consequences) and learning to solve seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The narrative is well-paced, moving from one situation to the next with ease, and the characters are diverse and interesting, regardless of whether they’re the good guys or the bad guys. The situations in which Orion finds himself are chilling enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seats, but not scary enough to cause nightmares. The text is easily understandable, but should be challenging enough for even the most voracious reader.
ORION POE offers intriguing escapades for young fans of adventure stories.
Reviewed by K.J. Pierce for IndieReader