My Name is Luke a novel by Jim RuddleA Novel by Jim Ruddle

Published by Amika Press   206 pages   paperback   $14.95

This reviewer is not the first to note that My Name is Luke seems cut from the same cloth as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Kidnapped or Treasure Island. Spinning a Stevenson-esque yarn with wit to rival Twain, author Jim Ruddle has created a timeless coming-of-age tale. Indeed, reviewers in the future may liken seafaring adventures written a century hence to this engaging book.

Fifteen-year-old Luke Constance, well-read, worldly and wise beyond his years, tells the story. One day in 1858, while he’s asleep aboard his grandfather’s schooner in Marblehead, Massachusetts, a pair of thieves steal the ship and head out to sea. Soon after he’s discovered, Luke realizes the miscreants know much more about hijacking than sailing. With the Atlantic weather taking a turn for the worse, Luke knows that if he and the Mary Constance are to survive, he must summon all of his experience and resourcefulness.

Jim Ruddle enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in his teens. Serving as a radio operator aboard ocean station vessels in the Atlantic and Pacific set him on a path to a career as a highly respected radio and television journalist. A longtime sailor, he lives in Rye, NY and enjoys navigating the waters of Long Island Sound and New England. My Name is Luke is his first book.

The 2014 winner of the Literary Classics Silver Medal for Historic Fiction, Young Adult, My Name is Luke can be obtained through the usual online channels, and it’s available in electronic formats. You’d do well, however, to take your favorite young sailor into your favorite independent bookstore and buy a copy for him or her…and perhaps one for yourself.