Beyond the Fort
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Christine Sullivan has always loved learning about the past, but she may get more history than she bargained for when she finds an old key for a door that brings her through a tunnel where she finds herself in Colonial Michilimackinac.
In the past, Christine meets fellow time travelers Henri and Jacques, along with French fur traders and British soldiers, but the tensions are high between the French and British. Henri and Christine uncover the plot of British Major, Callum Lewis, to eradicate all of the French settlers in the Mackinac Straits area. What will Christine and Henri do to save the settlers and possible change the course of history?
Can Christine help Henri outwit Lewis and save the fort? Will she be able to survive Colonial America without all of the amenities she is used to…especially her cell phone? Will she be able to find her way back home before the start of her junior year of high school?
“I liked it. I got hooked on Christine going into the future. That was a cool way to make it happen. Nicely done.”
“Suspenseful with Michigan history-I wanted to read before purchasing for my grandson and I enjoyed it, so I know he will. I have brought him books in the past but generally he had already read them and I know he will not have read this! Clever story, using Michigan history and very entertaining! This author is truly talented!”
“Great Purchase.I love this author. Her books are very well written. 😊”
“Great new author-Loved this book! Already bought the first book of the other series. Worst part of the book was forcing myself not to peek at the end with each new twist or mystery in the story.”
“The students loved the book! They came in each day with a question about what might happen. They made predictions about who the traitor was, and all but two students were surprised. The students and I learned alot about the history of the 1770's. Your characters were interesting and we loved that some of them were based on true characters. All of the students want you to write more about these characters. Great job!”
- Christine Sullivan: The heroine, a 16 years old girl working part time for the Mackinac State Historic Parks in Northern Michigan in the summer before her Senior year of high school at Mackinaw City High School. She suddenly finds herself in the year 1776.
- Henry “Henri” Beckwith: The hero, a 17 years old boy who snuck into Colonial Michilimackinac five years ago and passed through the portal from the future. He has given up on finding a way home until he finds Christine.
- Jacques Lansing: Had once worked at Colonial Michilimackinac, found the portal, and has been in 1776 for over a decade. He now works as a fur trader and is considered a raconteur, or special tale-teller among the French community. He is also married and has three step-children.
- Aimée Lansing: An Ojibwe widow who is now married to Jacques. She has three children who are considered metis (half-French, half-American Indian)
- Gabriel: Aimee’s son from her first marriage. He is very stoic and serious, as well as distrustful of newcomers. He has one son, Louis and his wife died in childbirth.
- Simone: Aimee’s daughter from her first marriage, she becomes fast friends with Christine.
- Antoine: Aimee’s son from her first marriage, and is a good friend of Henri.
- Raphael: Henry’s best friend in Michilimackinac. He is fun-loving and always happy.
- Callum Lewis: A British soldier who hates the French and is does whatever he can to make their lives miserable.
- Remington Hugo: A British soldier and Callum Lewis’s second-in-command; he does a lot of the “dirty work”.
- AS DePeyster: British Commander of the Fort Michilimackinac.
- Sadie: Christine’s friend and teammate from the present.
- Caleb Worthington: One of Lewis’s men
I didn’t think about the key Anthony had found until later that night. I was all by myself at the fort, as I had volunteered to clean up after the cooking class on my own so that Marie could get ready for ‘Brown Trout Night’. I was in no hurry to get to the beach to see my own friends after hearing the boys tease Dylan about dating me. I held the key up and looked at it.
“I wonder what it goes to.” It looked old enough to be an actual key from the 18th Century, like the artifacts displayed in the Treasures in the Sand exhibit in the fort. There were very few places in the fort that were from the original settlement. “It was found in the priest’s fireplace.” I thought out loud, then had one of my brilliant ideas. Quickly tightening the ties on my historically-accurate clothing, I grabbed a flashlight, and ran as quickly as my shoes could take me to the priest’s house. When I got there, I glanced around to see if anyone was around, then hopped over the plastic and wooden barrier. The root cellar in the priest’s house was one of the only original sites, still intact from the 1780 demolition. I took a rickety old ladder down into the cellar and looked around. I’d never learned why this particular structure hadn’t been excavated yet, but I was glad that it hadn’t been. I walked around the cellar, studying the walls. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I was about to climb back up the ladder when I tripped on a rock of sticking out of the dirt, then fell to the ground.
“Oww…” I looked down at my scraped hands. “Well, wouldn’t it be nice to get through just one day without hurting myself. Never mind that.” I turned and glared at the stone that had tripped me.
“Stupid rock.” I stood and kicked at it, then bent and examined it closer. It was not a rock, but a ring of metal. The dirt had been hiding it, but had loosened when I tripped and then kicked at it. My stomach jumped as a flurry of excitement ran through me. I knelt, wanting to see what lay beneath. I knew that I shouldn’t. Sara and the other archaeologists should examine it first, but I was too impatient. I scraped away the dirt, then pulled the ring hard several times before a trapdoor came open.
“Holy cow.” I pulled out my flashlight to look below. There was a small, dirt-packed room, with another rickety ladder leading down, although this ladder seemed to be original. My heart pounded as I carefully turned and put a foot on the first rung, praying that it wouldn’t break.
“The archaeologists will kill me for this,” I continued down the ladder anyway. When I got to the middle rung, it snapped, and I fell to the floor with a thud. The trapdoor slammed shut above me. “Well, this is not my day,” I quickly found my phone and dusted myself off. It was pitch black, so I turned on the flashlight of my phone so I could look around. To my left, was a wooden door with a keyhole that looked as though it would be a fit to my key. With my heart pounding, I tried to open it, but found it was indeed locked. I quickly slid the key into the hole, turned it, and the lock clicked.
“Oh. My. Gosh!” I could barely contain my excitement. Opening the door slowly, I found that it led to a tunnel. “I can’t believe this.” I threw caution to the wind and followed the path of the tunnel. It was cold, and eerie; my heart still pounded. As I walked, I couldn’t help but wonder where I would end up. The tunnel curved, and though I wasn’t great with directions, I felt I was heading towards Lake Michigan from underneath the fort. Finally, I came to a dead end and another ladder leading up. Above me was another trap door. I carefully climbed the ladder, and pushed at the trapdoor. It didn’t budge.
“Dang it!” I exclaimed. Had I really come this far for nothing? I pounded on it with my shoulder in frustration. It moved slightly as dirt fell in my face, and with another push of my shoulder, it opened. I smiled to myself, and climbed out the door. I immediately felt the wind of the straits on my face again. While I had been underground, the sky had darkened and the stars were out. I turned and saw that the exit of the tunnel was right in front of the cannon platform.
“Excellent. An escape tunnel!” I had heard and read about tunnels like this, mostly during my travels down South, but it didn’t take me long to sense that something wasn’t right. It was quiet. Way too quiet. No sound of cars rushing by overhead, and the sounds I could hear were coming from…inside the fort. I could smell wood smoke, and the Mackinac Bridge…I quickly turned. Was. Not. There. My stomach plummeted. What had just happened?