Two-time Newbery Honor author turns his formidable talents to this riveting suspense novel about a spirited Irish-American girl who helps save her family from ruin on the Erie Canal in the 1840s.
When Maggies father loses next years salary and two of their best mules in a bet with Long-fingered John, the family is left desperate for money. They have only a few days to get the heavy cargo in their mule-drawn barge to Buffalo in order to make a much-needed bonus. But when Papa and Uncle Henry are arrested on an alleged assault charge, 12-year-old Maggie, her younger brother, and their ailing mother must fight all manner of adversity to save their boat, their mules, and their life savings. Jim Murphy is at his best in this colorful and gritty slice of 19th-C. life on the Erie Canal.