Fast-paced, evocative, and intensely suspenseful, Tim Wynne-Jones’s latest psychological thriller finds a teenager setting his wits against the frigid wilderness and a menacing crew of escapees.
Four months after his best friend, Dodge, disappeared near their families’ camp in a boat accident, Nate is still haunted by nightmares. He’d been planning to make the treacherous trek to the remote campsite with a friend — his first time in winter without his survival-savvy father. But when his friend gets grounded, Nate secretly decides to brave the trip solo in a journey that’s half pilgrimage, half desperate hope he will find his missing friend when no one else could. What he doesn’t expect to find is the door to the cabin flung open and the camp occupied by strangers: three men he’s horrified to realize have escaped from a maximum-security prison. Snowed in by a blizzard and with no cell signal, Nate is confronted with troubling memories of Dodge and a stunning family secret, and realizes that his survival now depends on his wits as much as his wilderness skills. As things spiral out of control, Nate finds himself dealing with questions even bigger than who gets to leave the camp alive.
Tim Wynne-Jones is the accomplished author of numerous young adult novels, including The Emperor of Any Place, Blink & Caution, The Uninvited, and The Ruinous Sweep. The Starlight Claim revisits the site of (and some characters from) his acclaimed novel The Maestro a generation later. In 2012 Tim Wynne-Jones was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his services to literature. He lives in Ontario, Canada.
Wynne-Jones has done a superb job of verisimilitude and ratcheting up suspense in this page-turning mash-up of mystery and survival story. Rich in plot, the story is also notable for its complex, multidimensional characters, even that of Dodge whom readers meet in flashbacks. Wynne-Jones doesn’t strike a single false note in this beautifully written, compulsively readable adventure.
—Booklist (starred review)
This is an appealing book for anyone seeking adventure. It would appeal to fans of Hatchet (Bradbury Press 1987) who are looking for something similar but new. The story is fast-paced and intriguing as the mystery of Dodge’s disappearance unfolds and Nate must attempt survival in the harsh winter elements.
—School Library Connection