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Jungle Land

168 pages
DJ is always thrilled to spend time with his grandfather, a person he idolizes. When his grandfather announces that he's going to take all of his grandsons on individual adventures, it seems only fair that DJ, as the oldest grandchild, will get his adventure first. An adventure that sees his grandfather at the controls of a small plane as the two fly to Central America for a week. But when someone tries to kidnap him, DJ must flee through the jungle and down a crocodile-infested river, pursued by armed gunmen. When he isn't busy trying to stay alive, DJ discovers things about himself he never suspected and uncovers information that leads him to believe his beloved grandfather is living a secret life.

   In this exciting prequel to Between Heaven and Earth and Sleeper, the responsible and athletically gifted DJ flies to Central America.
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jungle land
eric walters
Praise forbetween heaven and earthfromSeven (the series)
“Richly detailed and satisfying.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A fantastic story that will capture the attention of young readers and keep them engaged until the last page…Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine
“Strikingly realistic.” —YALSA YA Galley Teen Review
Praise forsleeperfromThe Seven Sequels
“Flashy, quick and fun.”—Quill & Quire
“A fastpaced, enjoyable entrée to this mystery/ adventure series.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The setting is vibrant, and the thrills are a milea minute…Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine
jungle land eric walters
Copyright ©2016Eric Walters
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Walters, Eric,1957–, author Jungle land / Eric Walters. (The seven prequels)
Issued in print and electronic formats. isbn 9781459811492(paperback).—isbn 9781459811508(pdf).— isbn 9781459811515(epub)
I. Title. ps8595.a598j86 2016jc813'.54 c20169004775 c20169004783
First published in the United States,2016 Library of Congress Control Number:2016933649
Summary:In this middlegrade novel, DJ travels with his grandfather to Central America and ends up hunted by armed gunmen.
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has ® printed this book on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Design by Teresa Bubela Cover photography by iStock.com Author photo by Sofia Kinachtchouk
orca book publishers www.orcabook.com
Printed and bound in Canada.
For Tampa—gone but not forgotten
I startled, and my head jerked up. I was suddenly fully awake, surrounded by blue sky and a few fluffy white clouds, sitting in the copilot seat of an airplane. On the sound system was Frank Sinatra—doing it “his way.” “Did you have a nice nap, DJ?” my grand father asked. “I just sort of drifted off…sorry.” “That’s okay. I fell asleep myself for a bit.” I gasped. “You did!” He chuckled, and I realized he was joking.
“Of course, this baby is equipped with auto pilot, so I guess I could drift off for a while and we’d be none the worse for wear,” he said. “Still, I should have stayed awake to keep you company.” “It’s a long flight, and I think the purring of the engines can lull you to sleep,” he said. “Yeah, it’s very, um, restful.” What I didn’t say was that I was unnerved by yesterday’s flight—which had been very bumpy—and I hadn’t gotten too much sleep last night. We’d been in the air for most of yesterday, stopping first in Jacksonville, Florida, and then flying on to Cancun, Mexico, where we’d spent the night. We’d left Cancun early, and we’d been in the air now for almost five hours. It was a long way to Central America from Ontario. The little orange motionsickness pill Itook every time I flew didn’t help me stay awake. Despite the many times I’d been in the air with my grandfather, I still felt sick to my stomach every time. He didn’t know I got airsick.
He didn’t know I took medication every time I flew with him. Only my mother knew. I thought my grandfather would be disappointed in me if he knew. My mother said he’d understand, but she still kept my secret. My grandfather loved flying—probably even more than I hated it. And because I loved being with him, I didn’t want him to know how I really felt about flying. I must have been a pretty good actor, because he didn’t seem to. “There’s not much to see out there right now,” Grandpa said. I looked out and down. Beneath us was the Pacific Ocean, glistening in the bright sunlight. I looked all around, trying to find a hint of land, but there was nothing on the horizon. That, of course, meant there was no place to land if there was an emergency. Thank good ness for twin engines. “I guess I should just take it as a compliment that you have such faith in my flying that you can go to sleep,” he said.
“You know I have complete faith in you!”I said. That was no lie. My grandpa wasn’t just my grandpa. He wasn’t just somebody I loved.He was somebody I really, reallylikedand looked up to. He had been flying for over fifty years. He had flown combat missions in the war and had piloted little planes around the world before he settled down to run a successful import/export business. Of course, that had put him in the air all the time, and my mother told us stories about how much he was gone while she and her sisters were little. He’d had only daughters—four of them— and those daughters had had only sons—six of us. My mother joked that we were the sons he’d never had. And I guess he was sort of the father I’d lost. Grandpa owned his own plane. It was a four seat, singleengine Cessna. Although it had a range of a thousand kilometers, he used it mainly
for short flights—just forgoing for a spin, as he put it. I’d been up for dozens and dozens of spins. Logically, I knew that he was a great pilot and that the Cessna was one of the safest, most reliable planes in the world. Still, even the safest, most reliable planes with the best pilots did crash. He’d borrowed a Piper Chieftain from a friend for this trip. It was a lot bigger than Grandpa’s own plane and could seat eight people. It also had two engines. The odds of both engines on a plane dying were really, really small. I knew because I’d looked it up. I thought my grandfather would have been happier in his Cessna, but he had arranged to use this plane because it had more range, and we were going a long way. This time we weren’t just going for a spin. We were going on what he called areal flight. Flying all the way to Central America was more flight than I wanted, but it was all part of the adventure. This was much, much more than a flight. This was a special adventure my grandpa