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St. Elmo's Fire (eBook)

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  • 34,154 Words
  • 104 Pages

St. Elmo's Fire is a maritime phenomenon where natural electrical discharge, primarily from lightning, causes a ship's mast to glow. Its aura can be seen for miles, and it has been believed to be either an evil omen or a sign of protection and good luck at sea.

Beginning in the Port of New York in fall, 1834, St. Elmo's Fire is a fast-paced story of adventure and misadventure. Twenty-year-old Donecha (DONecka) Van Fossen, bookish son of Irish-Dutch immigrant parents, manages to escape their dreary life and follow his dream of becoming a seaman. After his family's tenement is burned to the ground, Donecha is taken aboard the sailing ship Il Paradiso as tutor to the captain's son, eleven-year-old Lyle, who has been held captive at sea for most of his young life. Finding out why and by whom is the central mystery.

As the bond between Donecha and Lyle grows, they discover that the true mission of Il Paradiso is twofold: to rescue Liana, Lyle's hidden sister, from the clutches of Mediterranean relatives who would seize both children and appropriate their rightful inheritance, and also to find their mysterious mother, who appears to Lyle as the "glow in the sky". Moving from the Port of New York across the Atlantic to various Mediterranean ports, and back, the travelers return shortly before the Great Fire of New York leveled most of lower Manhattan in December, 1835.

Well into the nineteenth century, the stormy Atlantic was still open range for privateers, latter day pirates. Dramatic encounters and narrow escapes throughout the journey build suspense. The rescue effort involves intrigues, pursuits, betrayals, as well as merriment, humor and a touch of romance. In the end Il Paradiso succeeds where Il Purgatorio and Il Inferno have failed.

In addition to Donecha and Lyle, other major characters include Mr. Crawdon, landlord, shipowner and father to Lyle; Slogo, the ship's galley cook; Lyle's sister, Liana; and Lyle's pet monkey, the Little Marqus. Characters are merry and scary, wry and sly. Linked into plot and character development are recurrent motifs of fires, secret passages, lively turnabouts of streotypes and the escapades of Lyle's clever little monkey. In the end, the wily Mr. Crawdon and the unlikely Slogo turn out to be the saviors of them all. Numerous character and plot shifts draw the reader to a surprising conclusion.

St. Elmo's Fire is a family-oriented story, between 35,000 and 36,000 words, divided into 26 short chapters, It is suitable for family reading and late elementary or middle school readers, both boys and girls, or as a chapter book. The characters and situations are credible in context and historical and geographical detail is generally accurate. The story would be well illustrated with lively drawings, say pen and gouache. Cinematic potential.

St. Elmo's Fire is a maritime phenomenon where natural electrical discharge, primarily from lightning, causes a ship's mast to glow. Its aura can be seen for miles, and it has been believed to be either an evil omen or a sign of protection and good luck at sea.

Beginning in the Port of New York in fall, 1834, St. Elmo's Fire is a fast-paced story of adventure and misadventure. Twenty-year-old Donecha (DONecka) Van Fossen, bookish son of Irish-Dutch immigrant parents, manages to escape their dreary life and follow his dream of becoming a seaman. After his family's tenement is burned to the ground, Donecha is taken aboard the sailing ship Il Paradiso as tutor to the captain's son, eleven-year-old Lyle, who has been held captive at sea for most of his young life. Finding out why and by whom is the central mystery.

As the bond between Donecha and Lyle grows, they discover that the true mission of Il Paradiso is twofold: to rescue Liana, Lyle's hidden sister, from the clutches of Mediterranean relatives who would seize both children and appropriate their rightful inheritance, and also to find their mysterious mother, who appears to Lyle as the "glow in the sky". Moving from the Port of New York across the Atlantic to various Mediterranean ports, and back, the travelers return shortly before the Great Fire of New York leveled most of lower Manhattan in December, 1835.

Well into the nineteenth century, the stormy Atlantic was still open range for privateers, latter day pirates. Dramatic encounters and narrow escapes throughout the journey build suspense. The rescue effort involves intrigues, pursuits, betrayals, as well as merriment, humor and a touch of romance. In the end Il Paradiso succeeds where Il Purgatorio and Il Inferno have failed.

In addition to Donecha and Lyle, other major characters include Mr. Crawdon, landlord, shipowner and father to Lyle; Slogo, the ship's galley cook; Lyle's sister, Liana; and Lyle's pet monkey, the Little Marqus. Characters are merry and scary, wry and sly. Linked into plot and character development are recurrent motifs of fires, secret passages, lively turnabouts of streotypes and the escapades of Lyle's clever little monkey. In the end, the wily Mr. Crawdon and the unlikely Slogo turn out to be the saviors of them all. Numerous character and plot shifts draw the reader to a surprising conclusion.

St. Elmo's Fire is a family-oriented story, between 35,000 and 36,000 words, divided into 26 short chapters, It is suitable for family reading and late elementary or middle school readers, both boys and girls, or as a chapter book. The characters and situations are credible in context and historical and geographical detail is generally accurate. The story would be well illustrated with lively drawings, say pen and gouache. Cinematic potential.


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