Sunday, September 4, 2011

Around the World in 100 Days by Gary Blackwood

You might be familiar with the famous story Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. The main character, Phileas Fogg, was challenged to travel around the entire world in 80 days or less. Today we could fly around the world in less than two hours on the space shuttle, but in 1873, Fogg had to use railroads, ships and the Suez Canal.

This story begins in 1891, when Harry Fogg, son of the famous adventurer and traveler, also accepts a bet. Harry and his good friend, Johnny Shaugnessey, have built their very own steam-powered automobile called The Flash. Harry's father keeps hoping his son will get serious about his future and stop fooling around with ridiculous ideas like motorcars. But Phileas backs his son when members of his Gentleman's Club make fun of Harry when he insists that automobiles are the future of transportation. Soon Harry and Johnny set off on their own around the world journey, accompanied by two other young adults: Charles, who is supposed to serve as an impartial observer but is really a spoiled brat and the mysterious Elizabeth, who wants to prove herself as a journalist. They are allowed to put The Flash on a ship to cross oceans but otherwise they have to drive the car across all continents. Not only must they deal with the natural obstacles, bandits and other dangers they encounter, but someone is also trying to sabotage their attempt.

Author Gary Blackwood was inspired to write this story by a real event - the Great Auto Race of 1908. After researching and writing a nonfiction book about this famous race, he began to imagine a similar fictional story. Around the World in 100 Days is an exciting historical adventure story, spiced with humor and colorful characters.