Pirates. Sharks. Treasure. A librarian. And a girl genius inventor who’s kidnapped by Merrick the Monstrous so that he can take advantage of her oceanographic skills to find a lost gift—at the bottom of the sea.
Eleven year old Fidelia Quail, daughter of the famous marine biologists, Dr. and Dr. Quail,has been inventing science tools and studying ocean life since she was old enough to walk. Now she has built her own miniature research submarine, the Egg, and Fidelia and her parents are out on the ocean on the last day of the year for tagging sharks before the Undertow comes in and puts an end to ocean research off the coast of their island home, Arborley Island. Little does Fidelia know that her life is about to change with the loss of both of her illustrious parents, a new home with Aunt Julia, the librarian, and worst of all, a kidnapping by Meriick the Monstrous, the most infamous pirate in the world.
I found this story a delight, appealing to shark enthusiasts and to those who love a good pirate story. Oh, and there’s also romance and adventure and a satisfactorily bittersweet ending. The books clocks a hefty 423 pages, but the print is nice and bold and well-spaced. The morals that can be drawn from the story are not deep:
Life is an adventure.
Even evil pirates may not be all bad.
Books can only take you so far.
There is no cure for a black heart.
Still, Race to the Bottom of the Sea is a grand adventure story with a spunky, intelligent protagonist. Ms. Eagar, who lives in landlocked Utah, certainly knows a lot about the ocean and about sharks and about marine life. She says that a teacher had her read Shark Lady by Ann McGovern when she was in grade school and started her on a lifelong obsession with sharks. Be careful what you have your children read; you never know where a book might lead them.