The year is 1669. In French colonial Quebec, Paul Guibeau has won fame for his bravery in fighting the Iroquois, and now he hopes to turn this success into a military career. When he overhears Count Frontenac commissioning Louis Joliet to chart the location of a fabled island in Lake Superior containing a rich supply of copper, Paul is determined to achieve glory by being the first to return with news of this mineral wealth. He sets off in a race across the wilderness with his friend and ally, a Huron Indian named Red Bear, in search of this island…but he does not count on the incursions of the Miami Indians into the lands now vacated by the fierce Iroquois. An unexpected struggle for freedom and for life itself now stands between him and his dreamed-of glory…
This book is the first of a pair that follow the discoveries of Marquette and Joliet in the 17th century. In The Race for Copper Island, we find Joliet and his companions setting off westward into the upper Great Lakes, in search of rich copper deposits that had been reported by missionaries in that region. At a Jesuit Mission near Sault Sainte Marie, Joliet meets with Father Marquette, whose observations and detailed maps of the shores of Lake Superior prove invaluable to his quest. At the same time, Father Marquette tells Joliet of his great desire to explore the Great River the natives have told him of—a river they call the Mississippi—the fulfillment of which will follow in the next volume, The Marks of the Bear Claws.
- Age Range: 9 – 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 – 6
- Paperback: 150 pages