In the autumn of 1636, tulip fever is sweeping Amsterdam, and Europe's fortunes rise and fall with the promise of the New World. That year, the great Dutch family of Windjammer suffers the loss of their entire trading fleet and they face certain ruin. The only person who can save the family's home, fortune, and reputation is Adam, the family's young heir. But he faces many enemies encouraged by the despicable banker Hugo van Helsen, and stirred up by the wicked preacher Abner Heems. Only one hope remains:a dark secret, a rare treasure called the Black Pearl. It is not the precious jewel that Adam imagines, but a flower:a tulip:one of the rarest and most valuable. In fact, it is worth enough money at the height of tulip fever to save the House of Windjammer. Adam is determined to find this hidden treasure, but he is not the only one on a mission to find the Black Pearl.
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V. A. Richardson had the idea for writing The House of Windjammer when he visited an exhibition of Dutch paintings. He lives in London.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Gr. 5-8. A shipwreck in the New World begins the story, but the action shifts quickly to Amsterdam, where the destruction begins a chain of events that threatens the venerable house of Windjammer. The story is seen through the eyes of Adam, the trading and shipping family's heir apparent. In a matter of days, the family has toppled from the pinnacle of Amsterdam society and is at the mercy of Hugo van Helson, a coldhearted banker, who uses his rebellious daughter and an evil preacher to bring about the Windjammers' ruin. Richardson's interesting stew of personalities and events rises above the stereotypical. As Adam tries to divine who and what conspire to change his life, readers will eagerly turn pages to find out right along with him. Amsterdam of the mid-seventeenth century makes an evocative background for the high-stakes happenings, and the introduction of the Tulip Wars well into the narrative adds an unexpected and absorbing element. The adventures of Adam Windjammer begin in this volume; the end portends action-filled adventures yet to come. Ilene Cooper
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