Books: Fantastic Voyage

A shipwreck and the hunt for its treasure 100 years later make the summer's best adventure tale

A kid working in a print shop in Keokuk, Iowa, is dazzled by a book about exploring the Amazon, by a ship captain named William Lewis Herndon. The kid, who is fizzing with light-out-for-the- territory restlessness, quits his job and hops a steamer for New Orleans, hellbent to board the next boat for the Amazon's mouth. But no boats are headed there, then or later, so young Samuel Clemens is stuck with writing about the Mississippi. There is only the most tenuous and delightful of connections with another kid, in Defiance, Ohio, a century later. This fellow, named Tommy Thompson, is...

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