The year is 1842, and thirteen-year-old Chris Robertson and his family are struggling to survive as fishermen and farmers in Shetland, a cluster of islands off the northern coast of Scotland.  Poverty, hunger, and being in debt is all they’ve known – and, indeed, all they’re likely to ever know – until an unexpected twist of fate changes Chris’s life forever.

When John, Christopher’s devious brother, frames him for the theft of their father’s secret pouch of coins, Chris embarks on a journey to return the coins and clear his good name.  But it’s not an easy one, and full of unexpected turns: a stop in prison, the promise of a beautiful girl, a trip aboard a smuggler’s ship, and the clue to finding a stash of gold coins hidden by an American spy some sixty years earlier. And when Chris finally finds his way to New York City, he begins a new life fraught with dangers of its own…

Junior Library Guild Selection – 2015
NH Literary Awards  – Winner Readers Choice, 2016
New England Book Festival – Winner YA, 2016
National Book Festival – NH Featured Book, 2018
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2016


“Set in 1842 and overflowing with historical detail, the novel makes generous use of dialect, which—along with a plot roving in time and packed with characters…leads to a rewarding conclusion that intertwines a piece of early American history with Christopher and his Shetland home.”  Publisher’s Weekly, March 2015


 “Debut author Burack infuses this gritty tale with plenty of historical detail about both the Shetland Islands and life as an immigrant in Boss Tweed’s New York. From traditional Shetland shoes and the importance of those famously short ponies to the unfair labor practices that contribute to Christopher’s Dickensian experiences, Burack’s careful research into Shetland history clearly shines through.”  Booklist, April 2015


“The story showcases the author’s talent for description and pacing…
those who [invest in this title] will be well rewarded.”  School Library Journal, February 2015

rivlins sketch

“Burack’s story moves at an engaging clip with enough thrills and historical detail to please many readers.”
  Kirkus Reviews, March 2015 

My inspiration for THE RUNAWAY'S GOLD

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