Sam Steele's Adventures in Panama is a boy's adventure novel written by L. Frank Baum, and published in 1907 under the pseudonym "Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald." The book was a sequel to the first "Sam Steele" novel, Sam Steele's Adventures on Land and Sea. Like the first book, the second was re-issued in 1908 as part of a revised series, as The Boy Fortune Hunters in Panama, by "Floyd Akers."
Sam Steele is now captain of a ship — an old and battered craft, but his own command. He is sailing it around South America to California. Aboard in Duncan Moit, a wool-gathering inventor; his great achievement is the Moit Convertible Automobile, a car that can travel both on land and in water. (The car is powered by compressed air, which solves the problem of a lack of gas stations in places like, say, Panama.)
A storm forces Sam's ship to the Panamanian coast. There, the travelers encounter the Techla Indians, descendents of the Aztecs. The Techlas are hostile to outsiders; Sam and his crew are tempted by the Indians' abundant gold and gems. Traveling ashore in Moit's amphibious auto, the Americans attempt to manipulate the Techla, without success.
Yet the Indian princess Ilalah falls in love with Moit. Her father the king manages to blow himself up in Moit's car, leaving his daughter as queen. Moit goes native, abandoning his automobile dreams to live as Ilalah's consort. Moit surrenders his share of treasure to his compatriots, and resolves to defend the Techla from interference, even to the point of destroying their gold and diamonds to protect them.
Sam suspects Moit of a streak of madness; but he and his crew are pleased to sail away with their rewards.
The book was reprinted in a modern edition, released in 2008 by Hungry Tiger Press under the title Sam Steele's Adventures — The Amazing Bubble Car, or The Boy Fortune Hunters in Panama.
- Katharine M. Rogers. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.