The year is 1852. Ten-year-old Emma Wright and her mama have boarded the Sally May for a steamboat journey that will take them up the Mississippi River, but nothing could prepare them for the danger and adventure ahead.
When concern over her beloved pony, Licorice Twist, lures Emma below to the main deck—a place that she has been forbidden to go—Emma is shocked by what she encounters. Here is a world completely different than the pampered one above with its comfortable stateroom and fine food. Here livestock and poor immigrants huddle together—underfed, unclean, and exhausted.
Soon Emma is making regular trips below, ferrying food to Patrick, an eleven-year-old stowaway who recently emigrated from Ireland. Slowly, Emma and Patrick develop a friendship that spans classes and ship levels. When the boiler explodes and the steamboat starts sinking, Emma fights her way through the black smoke to find her friends and family. But is it too late?
From the author of the award-winning Racing to Freedom trilogy, Alison Hart brings to life a nineteenth-century adventure.