Twelve year-old Ren is missing his left hand. How it was lost is a mystery that Ren has been trying to solve for his entire life, as well as who his parents are, and why he was abandoned as an infant at Saint Anthony's Orphanage for boys. He longs for a family to call his own and is terrified of the day he will be sent alone into the world.
But then a young man named Benjamin Nab appears, claiming to be Ren's long-lost brother, and his convincing tale of how Ren lost his hand and his parents persuades the monks at the orphanage to release the boy and to give Ren some hope. But is Benjamin really who he says he is? Journeying through a New England of whaling towns and meadowed farmlands, Ren is introduced to a vibrant world of hardscrabble adventure filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves. If he stays, Ren becomes one of them. If he goes, he's lost once again. As Ren begins to find clues to his hidden parentage he comes to suspect that Benjamin not only holds the key to his future, but to his past as well.
From the description I thought this book would be something I really enjoyed and I couldn't wait to read it. I have been disappointed though. I thought it would have some mystery with Ren looking for clues to his parents, and some adventure along the way. What it turned out to be was the story of some petty thieves that really weren't all that interesting to me. The storyline of Ren's parents doesn't even really get brought up until the last hundred pages.
There were some mildly interesting minor characters, but those couldn't keep me reading. As a disclaimer, I haven't currently finished this book. Maybe it all comes together beautifully in the end. But, even though I don't know who Ren's parent's are, I don't really want to spend the time reading the last hundred pages to find out. 2 stars