After a sailing ship breaks up on the rocks off Washington's storm-tossed Cape Flattery, Nathan McAllister, the fourteen-year-old son of the lighthouse keeper, refuses to believe the authorities, who say there were no survivors. Unexplained footprints on a desolate beach, a theft at the trading post, and glimpses of a wild "hairy man" convince Nathan that someone is hiding in the remote sea caves along the coast. With his new friend, Lighthouse George, a fisherman from the famed Makah whaling tribe, Nathan paddles the fierce waters of the Pacific--fishing, hunting seals, searching for clues. Alone in the forest, Nathan discovers a ghostly canoe and a skeleton that may unlock the mystery of ancient treasure, betrayal . . .and murder.
2000-2001 Georgia's Picture Storybook Award & Georgia's Children's Book Award Masterlist
01-02 Land of Enchantment Book Award Masterlist (Gr. 6-9)
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Nathan's father is a lighthouse keeper on Tatoosh island near the Strait of San Juan de Fuca in Northwest Washington in the late 1800s. He spends most of his days with a local Makah Indian named Lighthouse George roaming around the region and fishing. At the beginning of the book, there is a bad storm and a ship wrecks off the Strait. Nathan sees plumes of smoke on the island and other clues lead him to suspect that someone survived the wreck. Meanwhile, the owner of the local trading post starts behaving very strangely, and a very odd Makah who has been gone for years working on ships returns to Neah Bay. Nathan also finds a canoe up in the tree canopy with a skeleton and other Indian artifacts within. Slowly, a mystery emerges and Nathan puts together all the pieces. There was not as much action in this book as I was anticipating, but there was a pretty decent mystery. There is a lot of information about Chinook customs, such as how they made canoes, fished, buried their dead and, of course, the potlatches. The plot develops somewhat slowly, but the excitement builds at the end.more
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