Title: THE LOST FIGUREHEAD
Genre: MG Adventure
Word Count: 56,000
Finn Rackham is tired of being told that he's bound to end up just like his parents--behind bars. Sure, his temper is a little toasty, but that doesn't make him a criminal. But when he accidentally falls in with a band of pirates, even he starts to think it won't be long before he finds himself in juvie--or worse.
After twelve years in the slums of Brooklyn, Finn figures he knows how to deal with pirates. Just stir up that temper, let fly a few fists, and bingo! He'll be rid of them before you can say "Yo-ho-ho!" But the men and women who sail under Captain Kelsey Dash are not the sword-swinging, pistol-wielding, treasure-hunting rapscallions he expects. They're time travelers, and they just commandeered a ferry in New York Harbor.
At least, it looks like a ferry.
But when the ferry changes into a Viking longship, Finn quickly learns that the boat he boarded in Battery Park is an enchanted vessel known as the Vanessa Atalanta. With the ability to plunge into the past and float upon the future, while changing her form into any ship ever imagined, she's the most magnificent craft to sail the seas. There's just one problem: she can't be controlled, which means her crew lives in constant fear that she'll transform into the Titanic, materialize in the midst of Pearl Harbor, or cruise straight into waters patrolled by the wicked pirate J.R. Daggerwing.
The only way to regain control of the Vanessa Atalanta is to find her lost figurehead, the key to her magic. If they don't, Finn can never return to New York--or worse, he and his new friends will be captured by Daggerwing, who will do whatever it takes to claim the enchanted ship for himself.
Trust Finn Rackham to make a mess of things.
Not that he regretted it. Not that it was even his fault, really. What was he supposed to do? Bobby Leland, the pompous brat, had opened that big ugly mouth of his, and Finn had reacted accordingly: with a few well-aimed punches, straight to the jaw. Sure showed him who was "good-for-nothing," all right.
"--ungrateful twerp. We take you in and this is how you thank us. Despicable!"
From the driver's side, Mr. Leland was still yelling, but Finn wasn't listening. Instead he stared out the window. There wasn't much to see: it was late, and this part of Brooklyn was dark.
"I should have known. That's what you get when good, law-abiding citizens try to clean up the streets. No wonder the jails are overcrowded. There's no helping you people, is there?"
All right, so maybe he was listening. Finn balled his hands into fists. Shut up, shut up, shut up.
The car jerked to a stop in front of a little brick building. Mr. Leland leapt out, moving awfully fast for a man his size, and threw open the passenger door. Finn tried to duck under his arm, but Mr. Leland caught him by the ear, only to drag him up the path to St. Magnus's Home for Children.
"I can walk. Geez." Finn pulled away, darting inside before Mr. Leland could give him a shove.