The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
An avalanche can be a mighty powerful beast. One moment, everything is held perfectly, silently in place, and the next moment, a slow slide gathers speed and devastatingly quickly buries everything in its path. Similarly, Will Everett begins his tale believing that he did not have a story worth telling about himself and that he was simply not brave - everything was silent and steady in his life. But then one day, Will visits his father, a railroad worker in the mountains of Canada, and from there, the snowball that will start the avalanche is formed. Will is there when an actual avalanche strikes, there to see a real sasquatch get caught, and there when a man attempts to steal a golden railroad spike, only to be thrown over the edge of a ravine.
Three years pass, and Will is aboard The Boundless, the longest steam train ever, with 987 cars, stretching more than 7 miles. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Will becomes the protector of a secret key that unlocks endless treasures and riches. Murder, villains, creatures, and more keep this heart pounding, thrilling adventure steaming forward. Working with the young escape artist, Maren, and the mysterious ringmaster, Mr. Dorian, Will must save himself, his father, and The Boundless.
Historical fiction mixed with fantasy and adventure makes this book an exhilarating read. I could not put this book down, and I needed to know what happened next to young Will, daring Maren, and the strange Mr. Dorian. A great middle grade read! Hop on board and hang on tight because it is a gripping ride!