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Sam Steele's Adventures in Panama

1907
Author(s):
Fitzgerald, Capt. Hugh (L. Frank Baum)
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Illustrator(s):
Heath, Howard
Publisher(s):
Reilly & Britton, Chicago
Genre(s):
Adventure

Comments:
Intended as a companion to Sam Steele's Adevntures on Land and Sea (1906), this book proved equally unpopular and the stories were reprinted in 1908, along with a new volume, as the first three Boy Fortune Hunters titles under a new Baum pseudonym Floyd Akers. Sam Steele is now captain of a ship — an old and battered craft, but his own command. He is sailing it around South America to California. Aboard in Duncan Moit, a wool-gathering inventor; his great achievement is the Moit Convertible Automobile, a car that can travel both on land and in water. (The car is powered by compressed air, which solves the problem of a lack of gas stations in places like, say, Panama.) A storm forces Sam's ship to the Panamanian coast. There, the travelers encounter the Techla Indians, descendents of the Aztecs. The Techlas are hostile to outsiders; Sam and his crew are tempted by the Indians' abundant gold and gems. Traveling ashore in Moit's amphibious auto, the Americans attempt to manipulate the Techla, without success. Yet the Indian princess Ilalah falls in love with Moit. Her father the king manages to blow himself up in Moit's car, leaving his daughter as queen. Moit goes native, abandoning his automobile dreams to live as Ilalah's consort. Moit surrenders his share of treasure to his compatriots, and resolves to defend the Techla from interference, even to the point of destroying their gold and diamonds to protect them. Sam suspects Moit of a streak of madness; but he and his crew are pleased to sail away with their rewards.

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