by Kenneth Oppel
Simon & Schuster, 2014. 332 pgs. Fiction
Like the train his book describes, Kenneth Oppel's The Boundless takes a while to chug out of the station, but when it does, the ride is wild. We first meet Will Everett as he waits for his father, an engineer and laborer for the transcontinental railroad in Canada, just as the rails have all been laid. An avalanche interrupts the driving of the last spike, a robbery is attempted, a sasquatch is killed and another one injured and captured. Three years later the Canadian Pacific Railway sends the most amazing train ever built west from Vancouver towards the East coast. The Boundless is six miles long, is comprised of 987 cars, and carries 6,495 passengers. It is a Titanic of the rails, and almost shares the Titanic's fate as wicked men try to steal the train's treasures and Will and his friend Maren, a circus performer, must try to save the day. The Boundless is a fantastical train, besieged by fantastical creatures: sasquatch haunt the forests the train passes through, someone reports having seen a wendigo, and most frightening of all, Will himself is almost taken by the hag of the muskeg. In the end, The Boundless is a rich burgoo of literature, art, history, fantasy, adventure, and mystery, well-suited to avid young readers.