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Author: Davies, Stephen
The children of Britain's ambassador to Burkina Faso, fifteen-year-old Jake, who loves technology and adventure, and thirteen-year-old Kas, a budding social activist, are abducted and spend time in the Sahara desert with Yakuuba Sor, who some call a terrorist but others consider a modern-day Robin Hood.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 147578
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 55856
School Library Journal (+) (00/11/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/12)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2011 Gr 5–8—Jake Knight, 15, is trapped in a stifling British boarding school while his sister gets to live in exotic Burkina Faso with their mother and father, who is the British ambassador. Then Jake gets caught breaking into a prison while playing a 21st-century version of a child's game that involves using GPS and is kicked out of school. What starts off as a promising vacation in West Africa goes violently awry when he and his sister are kidnapped by the alleged outlaw Yakuuba Sor. As they are staring down the barrel of a gun, they are saved by some young men and taken to the real Yakuuba Sor, an 18-year-old African Robin Hood. Jake soon realizes he is caught up in a deadly plot to bring the wrath of the British Empire down on this unsuspecting contemporary folk hero. Outlaw moves at a strikingly quick pace yet is not without humor. There are a number of high-tech elements, all explained in a way as to make them believable for the resources available in the desert. Davies alludes to corruption and a social system that favors the rich without any lengthy asides to detract from the story, making it subtly educational. This thriller is a great way to get readers hooked while introducing them to the issues affecting contemporary Africa.—Devin Burritt, Jackson Memorial Library, Tenants Harbor, ME - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2012 Fifteen-year-old Jake Knight isn’t all that upset when he’s suspended from his boarding school for prowling the town at night on a geocaching game; he’s quite happy, in fact, to be shipped off to Burkina Faso, where his father is the British ambassador, and where Jake has always felt life holds more adventure. On this visit he gets more adventure than he bargained for, as he and his activist younger sister, Kas, are kidnapped by the notorious Yakuuba Sor, regarded by Western countries as an outlaw in cahoots with “a well-known international terrorist network.” After being rescued from the back of a delivery van by a group of slingshot-wielding teens on horseback, Jake and Kas are taken to a secret encampment where they meet the real Yakuuba and learn that he’s actually a Robin Hood sort of good guy who’s being framed by villains high up in the Burkina Faso political hierarchy. Yakuuba helps them back to the embassy, but nobody there is buying that he’s innocent of their abduction or return, and when Mr. Knight thinks he’s packed his kids off to safety in Great Britain, Jake has actually slipped away at the airport, purloined his father’s motorcycle, and blazed off to Yakuuba’s encampment to warn him of imminent Western military retribution. Nonstop action will please thriller fans, and a bit of discussion of foreign interests in Burkina Faso gold mines adds some substance to the plot. The cardboard villains, tidily choreographed escapes, and Jake’s relentless derring-do attitude carry the unmistakable scent of cheesiness, though, and undercut any well-meaning effort at examining post-colonial relations. A closing note sorts fact from fiction in the novel, and if readers are unfamiliar with the thermobaric missile system featured here, they’ll now have something to keep them awake at night. EB - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.