In December 1850, the dark hours before dawn make 12-year-old Patrick O'Connell shiver. He lives with his mother and older sister in a wet and drafty shack. Patrick has been the man of the family ever since Da, his father, sailed from Ireland to America. But now he has a problem he can't solve: there isn't enough money to pay the rent. Suddenly, the village priest pounds on their door. He brings a bank draft with a letter from Da telling them to come to America. Soon Patrick and his family set off for Liverpool to board a ship. They think their problems are finally over, until Patrick meets some helpful strangers who are more than eager to help him care for his new fortune. Filled with irony and excitement, Newbery Award-winner Avi's adventurous tale is a vivid picture of life in 19th-century Ireland and England. With dramatic flair, narrator Simon Prebble provides the perfect voice for unsavory villains, colorful peasants, and the proper lords and ladies of the gentry.