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|Secrets of the dragon tomb|
Author: Samphire, Patrick
[Book 1] While dreaming of being a spy like those in his favorite magazine, twelve-year-old Edward has been stuck holding his eccentric family together but when his parents are kidnapped, he leads his sisters and cousin in an effort to rescue them across the danger-filled landscape of nineteenth-century Mars.
Secrets Of The Dragon Tomb, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 180677
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/15)
School Library Journal (10/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan wishes his life on 19th-century British Mars were more like the adventures he reads about in his Thrilling Martian Tales magazine. Sadly, it's school break and instead of being off with his friend Matthew Harrison, he's staying home trying to keep his family on track. His father is a brilliant yet absent-minded mechanician, and his mother's main concern is gaining back the family status she lost when her own father lost the family fortune. When dim-witted cousin Freddie literally comes crashing down, Edward wonders how much worse things can get, but before he knows it, he is tangled up in a madcap adventure with even more action than his magazines. It seems that Edward's father's latest invention, the water abacus, is thought to be the key to perhaps one of the last of the great dragon tombs of Mars. In the past, it was these tombs that held the wonderful Martian technology that enabled British Mars to thrive—and made the tomb explorers rich. There are many who want to use the water abacus for their own purposes, which leads to fights, kidnappings, attempted murder, and a great chase. All of this is set in a perfectly delightful steampunk and fantasy world complete with clockwork automatic servants, dragon paths, and spaceships. Deeper topics of race relations and colonization are deftly explored through the political unrest among the British, the French, and the Martians. VERDICT A smart addition for middle grade collections; be prepared to purchase planned sequels.—Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/15/2015 Things are amiss on nineteenth-century British Mars. Twelve-year-old Edward’s daft yet dashing cousin Freddie has dropped in unexpectedly, and something about his sudden appearance doesn’t sit right. Then, on the heels of his arrival, the unscrupulous archaeologist Sir Titus Dane kidnaps Edward’s parents and his oldest sister so that Edward’s genius father will help locate a hidden dragon tomb. It’s up to Edward, his two remaining sisters, and Freddie to rescue their family and stop Sir Titus. First-time novelist Samphire has created a wacky, lighthearted adventure that somehow makes its disparate elements (spying, Martians, pterodactyls, steampunk technologies, a Napoleonic threat) work. The imaginative Martian landscape isn’t too far removed from Earth’s—there’s even a Martian Nile—but wig-trees, luminescent grass, and low gravity remind readers this is a whole new world. Engaging characters—especially Edward’s spunky kid sister, Putty, and Freddie—and an action-packed plot are bolstered by some meaningful observations on Martian colonialism. Though a tad overwrought and formulaic at times, this will appeal to fans of zany adventure tales. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.