Nick the Saint by Anthony Szpak
Published by Vincere Press
It is after the Civil War and American is in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. In New York City, people are hungry and factories use child labor to cut costs. Into this mess comes Nick – who lost his parents, who lost his girl and who was sent to jail because of a ruthless factory owner, Fergus Crank. Nick survives only to end up back in New York where he discovers his purpose – to help the children in the factories.
Anthony Szpak’s wickedly creative version of Saint Nicklaus has a comic book milieu which depicts Nick as a vigilante fighting for kids. Since all good comic book heroes have a sidekick, Nick gets Benny, an inventor and fellow inmate, who adds levity to the story with a little OCD, a little steampunk, and a little love. Additionally, Mr. Szpak ingeniously weaves in some pulley theory, some penicillin and some history to get us thinking. Readers will quickly get caught up in the story as we watch Nick develop his own brand of justice. Needless to say, all is not as it seems and we encounter unforeseen twists which keep us on the edge. An excellent action story that will draw both middle grade and teen audiences.