Still reeling from their experiences in Roanoke in 1600, Jonah and Katherine arrive in 1611 only moments before a mutiny on Henry Hudson’s ship in the icy waters of James Bay. But things are messed up: they’ve lost the real John Hudson, and they find what seems to be the fabled Northwest Passage—even though they are pretty sure that that route doesn’t actually exist. Will this new version of history replace the real past? Is this the end of time as we know it? With more at stake than ever before, Jonah and Katherine struggle to unravel the mysteries of 1611 and the Hudson Passage...before everything they know is lost.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” a voice whispered near Jonah’s ear.
Jonah struggled to pay attention. He and his younger sister, Katherine, had just traveled through time, from one foreign era to another. He was becoming an experienced time traveler—a thirteen-year-old expert, you might even say. So he’d learned that when he first landed in a new place and time, he just had to expect his brain to be a little fuzzy.
And his eyes.
And his ears.
And … Really, for all Jonah could tell, he and Katherine might be seconds away from being burned at the stake or tortured on a rack or trampled by stampeding horses fleeing a war. And he wouldn’t be able to see or hear or notice any of those things until it was too late.
Anything was possible now.
No, no, Jonah told himself. It’s history. Everyone knows how it’s supposed to go. JB wouldn’t have sent us here if we were going to be in danger. Not right away, at least.
JB was the true time-travel expert. It had taken a while, but Jonah trusted JB. The problem was, Jonah didn’t have a very high opinion of the past. Twice now he and Katherine had gone back in time with other kids. They’d been sent to fix history and save endangered children. Each time, their mission had gotten a little complicated … and endangered them.
Jonah could have drowned.
Katherine could have died in battle.
Their friends could have been murdered.
Near misses, Jonah thought. Those two words, together, had more meaning than Jonah could bear to think about at the moment.
And what’s supposed to happen now? Jonah wondered. I don’t know anything about what happened in … 1611. He was proud that he could remember the year they’d been sent to. But the pride was followed by a shiver. What if this is the year that fate catches up with us?
That word—fate—prickled at his brain. It was too much for him to think about right now. He blinked and squinted, trying desperately to bring his vision into focus. A moment ago he’d managed to read a paper held close to his eyes. But beyond that range everything was just a gray fog around him. The only thing he could hear was a muffled thump-thump, thump-thump, off in the distance. He could feel some cold, hard surface beneath him—wood, maybe? Wet wood? Why would he be lying on wet boards?
“Jonah? Katherine?” The voice spoke again, sounding so tinny and distorted that Jonah could barely understand. Jonah wasn’t sure if the problem was his ears or the fact that the person was speaking to them from another time. “We tried. We really tried….”
“JB?” Jonah moaned.
“Who else would it be?” the voice said.
“Maybe … Second,” Jonah’s sister Katherine whimpered nearby. “Second was talking to us on the way here.…”
“Second was talking to you again?” JB asked, clearly alarmed. “Oh, no….”
Once upon a time—well, once upon a time in the distant future—Second had been JB’s most trusted employee. They’d worked together restoring history to its proper course after unethical time travelers had messed it up.
Then Second himself had decided to change the past.
He’d sabotaged Jonah and Katherine’s trip to return their friend Andrea to the year 1600—and to her original identity as Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America.
Second had set up a reckless scheme to shift time from its intended path—to improve it, he said. He’d manipulated Andrea and Jonah and Katherine and their new friends Brendan and Antonio. He’d risked their lives.
And he’d achieved everything he’d wanted to in 1600.
He’d even managed to break down the barriers protecting time after 1600, so the results of his changes had rippled forward, changing everything along the way. Now all of time—and history itself—was in danger of collapsing, unless Jonah and Katherine could keep 1611 stable.
No pressure, Jonah told himself. Nothing to worry about.
It was too overwhelming to think about saving all of time, all of history, all of humanity from the year 1611 on. Jonah focused his thoughts a little more narrowly, on just one person:
Second promised, Jonah thought. He promised if we fix 1611, we can rescue Andrea….
Actually, it was a package deal. Second had promised that Jonah and Katherine could rescue Brendan and Antonio and JB as well. All of them were stuck in the past. And, sure, Jonah wanted each of his friends to be safe. But it was Andrea he thought about the most: Andrea with her soft gray eyes, her gleaming brown hair, her stubborn hope that …
Katherine slugged Jonah in the arm.
“Stop daydreaming about Andrea,” she said. “We don’t have time for that.”
Sheesh, how did she know? Jonah wondered. He stopped himself from looking again at the drawing of Andrea on the paper he was holding in his hand. The drawing was torn from a book that had dropped on him only moments after they’d arrived in 1611, and it proved that Second’s changes had arrived too. But it also proved that somewhere back in time Andrea was still okay.
Jonah realized Katherine was waiting for an answer.
“I wasn’t daydr—,” Jonah started to protest, but Katherine interrupted.
“Yeah, you were,” she said. “You’re looking all lovesick and gloopy again.”
“You mean, the way you look any time you’re around Chip?” Jonah taunted. He was trying to think of a better put-down, when something else struck him. He managed to raise himself slightly on trembling arms and turn his head toward his sister. “You can see my face already?” he asked. “You’re getting over the timesickness that fast?”
He squinted but could see Katherine only as splashes of color in the general fuzziness. Was that blur of yellow her hair? Pink, her T-shirt? Blue, her jeans?
It seemed wrong, all those bright colors in the midst of the gray haze.
We don’t belong here, Jonah thought, shivering. Katherine doesn’t. I don’t.
Which would make fixing 1611 even harder.
“I—,” Katherine began, but stopped, because JB was talking again.
“I see that we made even more mistakes than I thought,” JB said.
Now Jonah could tell where JB’s voice was coming from: a small metal box that had fallen between him and Katherine. It looked like some antique meant for—what? Jonah wondered. Holding a candle? Scooping flour?
It didn’t matter. Jonah knew that the box was anything but antique, and that its appearance was completely fake. If it was transmitting JB’s voice, it was actually an Elucidator, a device from the future that could camouflage itself to fit any time period. In Jonah’s time—the early twenty-first century—it always looked like an ordinary cell phone.
Having it look so primitive now probably meant that the technology in 1611 would be really, really lame. But Jonah was just glad to have an Elucidator. On their trip to 1600, Second had made sure they lost it. They’d been entirely cut off.
Jonah managed to hold himself back from grabbing the Elucidator and clutching it like a little kid with a security blanket. But he did interrupt JB to ask, “Shouldn’t we set the Elucidator to make us invisible? Right away?”
Invisibility was one of the Elucidator’s best apps.
“Um … no,” JB said nervously. “Not just yet.”
This was odd. Usually JB was all about being cautious, not taking chances. Staying hidden.
“Listen,” JB said. “We don’t have much time. We really messed up.”
“We know,” Katherine said. “We saw what happened in 1600.”
Jonah shivered again, practically trembling. This was odd too—he didn’t remember shivering as a symptom of timesickness before.
“That’s not what I mean,” JB said. “What we thought about time itself—a lot of that was wrong. You have to understand—time travel was so young then. We were as confused as all those early European explorers in their Age of Discovery. All their crazy notions … Did you know they thought that in the summertime the North Pole would be as hot as the equator, because of the constant sunshine?”
“So then someone went there, saw the glaciers, and figured out they were wrong,” Katherine said impatiently. “Just like you guys went back in time, figured out what it was like, and—”
“No.” JB’s voice was hard suddenly, almost angry. “We didn’t find out that quickly. Time travel is not like geography. There are so many complications. So many extra variables. Things that don’t show up until you’ve made mistake upon mistake upon mistake.”
Jonah realized that his vision was clearing. He could see past the Elucidator now, past Katherine. Beyond her a thin layer of ice shone dully on a weathered wood floor and a cluster of equally weathered-looking barrels. And beyond that—Jonah squinted—was fog.
So I still can’t see everything, he thought. He snorted, because the salt water in the air was stinging his nostrils. No, wait—that’s real fog! That’s why I can’t see anything!
He sat all the way up, swaying only slightly. Now he could see the spot where the wooden floor met a wooden wall of sorts. But the wall rose up only about three or four feet. After that—Jonah looked toward the gray, foggy sky—there was an intricate arrangement of ropes leading up to billows of dingy, tattered white cloth.
Sails, Jonah thought. Rigging. We’re on a ship.
The ropes also had a sheen of iciness. Icicles hung from the side of the ship.
Jonah finally understood why he couldn’t stop shivering: He was wearing only jeans and a T-shirt, and it was absolutely freezing here. The world around them seemed like the kind of place that never thawed.
In this fourth entry in The Missing series, Jonah and Katherine barely have a chance to recover from the traumatic events in Roanoke in 1600 when they are hurtled through time again, moments before a mutiny aboard the Discovery, Henry Hudson’s ship, in the icy waters of James Bay. As they struggle to survive the frozen seas and brutal conditions aboard the ship, Jonah and Katherine realize that something is terribly wrong. The history they remember is drastically different from what they are experiencing. Will this new version of history replace the past? Jonah and Katherine struggle to unravel the mysteries of 1611 and the mysteries about the Hudson Passage before the only future they have ever known is lost forever.
Before beginning the book, ask readers to share what they know about Henry Hudson and other explorers of the New World. Ask them what know about North America in 1611.
Use an atlas to show readers where in North America the Discovery traveled during Henry Hudson’s final expedition.
There are place names and vocabulary words cited in the story that will be unfamiliar to most readers. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic research sources to find out as much information as they can about the following: coerce, crow’s nest, doggerel, miscreant, mutiny, Northwest Passage, Orient, shallop, and variables.
Why did it take so long for Jonah to trust JB?
Who is Second, and what is his connection to JB?
What has Second done in his attempts to alter the past?
What is significant about the drawing Jonah has of Andrea?
What does Jonah consider to be one of the “best apps” of the Elucidator?
What else can the Elucidator do?
Why is time travel so complicated?
Where and when are Jonah and Katherine? Who is Jonah supposed to be?
What do the tracers represent? What do they indicate about the time Jonah and Katherine are in?
What does Jonah notice about the sailor's face? What do you think accounts for his poor condition?
Why does Jonah begin to question JB’s reliability?
What makes Jonah conclude that Henry and John Hudson do not have a good relationship?
Why does Henry Hudson refuse to sail for the winter cabin?
What is the plot that Prickett and Henry Hudson plan together? How does the plan deviate from historical fact?
What does the message that Jonah discovers in the crow’s nest warn about Prickett?
How does Staffe remind Jonah of his father?
What makes Jonah conclude that Second is involved with altering the history of the Henry Hudson expedition? What might be the consequences of changing history?
Do you agree with Jonah’s comment that Henry Hudson has the “biggest ego on the planet”? What are some examples of Henry Hudson’s egotism?
Why do the crew members turn their backs to Jonah when he is punished?
How does Prickett remind Jonah of his friend Billy Rivoli?
What makes Jonah conclude that Prickett is actually Second?
Why does Second need Jonah and Katherine’s help?
What do Jonah and Katherine assume when they see the knife?
Who is Dalton Sullivan?
Why does JB say they need to suspend time travel for a while?
Post reading Activities
Henry Hudson was one of many explorers who, for centuries, sought the Northwest Passage as a possible trade route to Asia. Ask readers to work in pairs and use reference books or electronic research sources to learn about other explorers and expeditions seeking the Northwest Passage. When they have completed their research, ask them to share their findings.
Scurvy, a common disease among sailors on long sea voyages for many centuries, is mentioned several times in the novel. Ask readers to work in pairs and use reference books or electronic research sources to learn about the causes and effects of scurvy and treatments. When they have completed their research, ask them to share their findings.
During the Age of Discovery, mutiny typically described an open rebellion against a ship’s captain. Ask readers to work in small groups and use reference books or electronic research sources to prepare a PowerPoint presentation about a famous naval mutiny.
In her Author’s Note, Margaret Haddix states that there is no historical certainty about what became of Henry and John Hudson, only speculation and references in Native American legends. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic sources to research the various theories about what became of Henry and John Hudson and decide which one they consider most plausible.
Recommended Books and Websites about Henry Hudson
Duble, Kathleen Benner. Quest. McElderry, 2008.
Foran, Jill. The Search for the Northwest Passage. Weigl, 2004.
Weaver, Janice. Hudson. Illus. David Craig. Tundra, 2010.
Young, Jeff C. Henry Hudson: Discoverer of the Hudson River. Enslow, 2009
Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.
"Haddix...keeps the story suspenseful and tight...Best of all, the story feels like real history, with believable characters and plausible events. It will likely spark interest in young readers...Another action-filled and suspenseful historical thriller."--Kirkus Reviews
"Hudson’s ill-fated explorations provide an excellent opportunity for readers to learn about sailing ships, survival, and mutiny. Plenty of action and an extended author’s note sustain this fourth entry in the Missing series."— Booklist, September 1, 2011