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Iron Thunder
Hyperion, 2007
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Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor & the Merimac

When his father is killed fighting for the Union in the War Between the States, thirteen-year-old Tom Carroll must take a job to help support his family. He manages to find work at a bustling ironworks in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, where dozens of men are frantically pounding together the strangest ship Tom has ever seen. A ship made of iron. Tom soon learns that the Union army has very important plans for this iron ship called the Monitor. It is supposed to fight the Confederate “sea monster”—another ironclad, the Merimac. But almost no one believes the Monitor will float!

Meanwhile, Tom’s job at the ironworks has made him a target of Confederate spies who offer him money for information about the ship. Tom finds himself caught between two certain dangers: an encounter with murderous spies and a battle at sea in an iron coffin… .

Behind the Book

Avi writes: I love to read history because I love good stories. Dates are interesting—it’s helpful to know when things happened—but it’s the stories of people doing the most amazing things, things that often change the world, that grab my imagination. In these books I have set out to tell tales of history in such a way that they come alive with “real” young people in “real” situations. And Hollywood could not invent the amazing and truly thrilling facts that pertain to the Monitor and the Merrimac, and the Civil War battle they fought, the first time iron ships clashed. Here’s a book that almost wrote itself. Most amazing is the fact that it’s all true.

Awards and Honors

Publishers Weekly, 2007, starred review
Banks Street Best Books of the Year, 2008
Beacon of Liberty Award, 2008, nominee
William Allen White Children's Book Award, 2009, nominee


Publishers Weekly:

“The spectacular clash with the Merrimac caps this intense and action-packed account of a battle that changed the course of naval warfare. Illustrated with period engravings, this is gripping historical fiction from a keenly imagined perspective.”


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