Raiders of the Lost Barque
Raiders of the Lost Barque is an adventure story for young readers set in Georgian Bay, Canada. The primary characters are the Hudson Family (Calvin, Alice, and Betsy), the Andrews family (Doug and Wally, fraternal twins known locally as the Hardy Boys), and the Vermeer family: Kathleen, Hannah, and Michael, who functions as narrator and illustrator; and Opa, the family patriarch and grandfather.
The story chronicles two summers at Horse Island and a running feud with Mr. Allenbury, a new, wealthy, powerful, and generally obnoxious island neighbour. Mr. Allenbury is the C.E.O. of both Drugs 'R' Us and the Plantation Tobacco Company. He also has other diverse and illegal business interests which gradually emerge during the story.
Opa is a remarried widower who owns both a cottage and a classic forty-foot cruiser, Mazeppa. An annual custom is a cruise on Mazeppa, but in the interlude between the two summers, Opa, in the wake of divorcing his second wife, is forced by financial pressure to sell his boat. Because of the tremendous family affection for Mazeppa, her sale is a major emotional catastrophe. The situation is compounded by the discovery that she has been purchased by a movie production company with plans to feature her in a movie called Thundering Rum-Runners and ultimately blow her up.
The Hardy Boys, while investigating a suspected fraud, discover Mazeppa's whereabouts, and they and the Vermeer and Hudson children decide to rescue the "Lost Barque" in a night-time raid, taking her to a place of safety arranged by some natives the children have befriended.
The production company turns out to be yet another Allenbury enterprise, but because of a long string ofillegal escapades, Mr. Allenbury is caught fleeing to Bermuda, tried, and imprisoned. Mazeppa is returned to Opa and all ends well.
There are other adventures in the story of less magnitude as well, and consideration also of the atmosphere and traditions surrounding the Canadian custom of "cottaging." Although the two summers in the tale are of 1995 and 1996, there is a strong element of nostalgia that should appeal to older readers.