Blackheart’s Legacy by Sally Copus, Book 1 of the Odyssey of Jon Sinclair

Blackheart's Legacy

 

As a librarian, I am always on the lookout for great books for boys in the 9 and up age range. Most boys just don’t have a lot of interest in reading, so finding things to draw them in is something of a challenge. With Blackheart’s Legacy by Sally Copus, I inadvertently found a great book for those picky readers. When I originally requested a copy, I did so for my own interest as soon as I read the first few sentences which contained time travel to see the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I’m a sucker for both parts of that, but it didn’t take long for me to realize there was so much more…

 

Jon is a twelve-year-old being raised by his grandparents, one of which (grandpa) is a retired NASA employee. While grandpa remains behind, Grammy is going with Jon on an educational journey into the days of history, but their plans go completely off course when something malfunctions, landing them in 1692 Port Royal, Jamaica. As exciting a destination as this would seem to a boy of that age from this time period, it was definitely not anywhere near the list of safest travel destinations–a fact Jon learns when he wanders too far from the time capsule and is abducted by pirates from the Black Opal.

 

What ensues is a story that will have the pages flipping in rapid succession. Grammy disguises herself as Gramm, a boy who becomes a cook on another pirate’s ship while on a secret quest to find her lost grandson, and Jon learns the responsibilities, and many dangers, of being part of a crew. With captains that are enemies, and a treasure to be found, you can bet there’s a battle on the horizon, but how are they both going to survive when they’re on opposing sides?

 
Although I felt that Grammy wasn’t as frantic as a grandmother would be, given the situation, that was a personal nitpick and most likely one that is irrelevant to the intended audience. Boys aren’t going to want to read about a hysterical grandmother. They would much prefer one who is savvy and strong and experiences her own adventures while on her search, and that is what I loved the most about this book. By putting the two main characters on different ships, captained by two very different men, readers are able to get a much better idea of how the treatment of crew members could vary. I actually became attached to Captain Blackheart and was hesitant to get to the final pages. I thoroughly enjoyed Jon’s time with him and the relationship they developed; therefore, I was thrilled to realize this is the first in a series, and Jon may just meet Blackheart again.

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