I loved this book. It’s a Psychology lesson about groups – in-groups and out-groups, my gang and your gang…
A boy on an island in danger is intriguing story told by an outsider about a community of islanders initially quarantined by a measles epidemic and then isolated and saved from another much deadlier pandemic – and then threatened by Abraham and his crew.
Aleks, a quirky teenager, is stranded on an island during the summer vacation when a quarantine is imposed by the government. Cut off from his family on the mainland, he continues to live with his grandparents and continues his daily swimming. When Aleks’ grandparents die of the measles, the local priest asks the foreigner (the story’s narrator) to take care of Aleks until the quarantine is over and his parents can come.
As more islanders succumb to the measles, a much deadlier virus sweeps the world causing chaos, panic, and billions of deaths. All contact with the mainland is lost, no one answers the telephones, the internet ceases, as do radio and television broadcasts. The islanders learn enough to know that no one from the mainland can come to their island in case they bring the killer virus. Some try to sail to the island, but the islanders turn them away using whatever means they can.
Aleks’ parents surely died in the pandemic and so while he continues to hope, he continues to live with the foreigner. As time passes, the outsiders such as Aleks, his new Papa, and other teenagers also stranded on the island all integrate into the island-community.
Several years pass and the islanders believe they may be the only people left. They learn to live simply but well. They have all they need: plenty of fresh and good food, wine, friends, family, and their religion. The islanders don’t just survive, they thrive. Until Abraham comes.
One morning a schooner appears out beyond the harbour. The fishing crews investigate and find Abraham, the schooner’s captain, and his mysterious crew. They say they’ve been sailing for months and all they want is to join the island community, but the islanders are wary. Aleks and his friends learn that Abraham isn’t to be trusted.
It’s not long before Abraham and his crew lose patience with the islanders and reveal their real intention. They want to take some of the island’s teenagers back to where they came from. And they’re willing to destroy the island to get what they want.
The islanders agree to hand over Aleks and several of his ‘foreign’ friends showing that these outsiders had never really been accepted into the community. Heated arguments in the town’s church come to nothing and so in the night, Aleks and his friends escape.
The islanders are furious. Abraham is enraged and demands ten of the island community’s teenagers instead. Plans and preparations are made for the final battle. A giant catapult that just might throw enough red-hot metal at the schooner to sink it. An old brass cannon from the museum that just may sink the schooner. A derelict and rusted old fire boat that just might start and just might ram and sink the schooner, Abraham and his crew.
But with luck on his side, and a rocket launcher, Abraham is victorious.
He claims his prize – the teenagers – and sails out of the harbour.
A boy on an island in danger is a suspense – I’ll stop here so that you can enjoy the ending as much as I did.
This is a very well-crafted and well-written book. The characters feel genuine. It’s easy to like and cheer for Aleks and his friends and it’s very easy to despise Abraham. And it’s easy to laugh with little Leo and to feel anxious as he has his appendix removed with just lemoncello for anaesthetic. The dialogue feels authentic and is well-paced.
I read A boy on an island in danger during the C-19 pandemic so it felt real. I loved reading this book and very strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an adventure, a suspense, and a play in social psychology.