Rave Reviews Log: Adventure

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Empty Kingdom

By Elizabeth E. Wein
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

This is the second book in the Mark of Solomon sequence, but is part of the larger Arthurian and Aksumite series Wein is famous for (and rightly so). This sequel concludes the story that began in The Sunbird and continued in The Lion Hunter. Telemakos and his toddler sister Athena had been sent to Abreha, the ruler of Himyar, for safety. Telemakos had previously done some spying and come under torture for the emperor of Aksum, and when threats are made towards whomsoever the spy was (no one knows), Telemakos' family feel it best that he get apprenticed to the mapmaker in Himyar. But Telemakos discovers Abreha is the one who is looking for the spy, and when Abreha finds Telemakos snooping in his desk, he punishes him by putting bells on him arm and refusing to let him see his sister. So Telemakos plays a dangerous game as he does his best to continue to spy and get information to the emperor, but not give himself totally away to the najashi. Years pass and the plot is happily littered with much emotional growth by Telemakos as he pieces together what is happening around him and learns to grow into himself and his destiny. A final twist will satisfy readers of these fabulous stories, and we all hope for more to come! Well written, well plotted, and eminently enjoyable.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Gideon the Cutpurse

By Linda Buckley-Archer
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

This adventure dabbles in science fiction as well as historical fiction to great effect. Starting in modern day London, Peter is disappointed yet again when his father lets business take him away from Peter's already postponed birthday celebration. With his mother away in Hollywood working on a film, Peter is depressed as his au pair takes him to Derbyshire to visit her friends, the Dyers. Kate, the eldest girl of the Dyer family, goes with Peter and Mr. Dyer to visit his lab, where NASA-funded research is going into an anti-gravity machine. Without warning, Peter and Kate and the machine are thrown back in time--to 1763 to be exact. The children are found by the Tar Man, a villain who works for the illustrious but evil-doing Lord Luxon, who makes off with the anti-gravity machine. They are then taken under the wing of Gideon, who had recently left the employ of Lord Luxon to the lord's displeasure. Gideon hears their amazing tale and agrees to help them recover their machine, while helping them create a cover story to fit in. Meanwhile back in the present, Peter and Kate's parents are besides themselves with worry, and the chief inspector is suspicious of hidden facts when representatives from NASA arrive. Then ghostly sightings of Kate and Peter start cropping up around the countryside as the pair learn to "blur" between this time and 1763. Can the two children find the anti-gravity machine and their way home with Gideon's help? Packed with the sights and smells of 1763, as well as run ins with highwaymen, criminals, royalty, hangmen and more, this well told story will appeal to lovers of fantasy and adventure. Fans will be happy to know a second book newly exists called The Time Thief. Hooray for great adventures!