Empire of Ruins: The Hunchback Assignments 3

( 3 )


Secret agent Modo's next assignment? Find ancient Egyptian ruins hidden deep in the Australian jungle and the mysterious God Face, rumoured to be a powerful weapon—anyone who looks upon it will be driven mad. And he must find the God Face before the evil Clockwork Guild does!

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Empire of Ruins: The Hunchback Assignments 3

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Secret agent Modo's next assignment? Find ancient Egyptian ruins hidden deep in the Australian jungle and the mysterious God Face, rumoured to be a powerful weapon—anyone who looks upon it will be driven mad. And he must find the God Face before the evil Clockwork Guild does!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This is the third outing for agents Modo and Octavia, and it is an electrifying, action-packed book from the very first page. Mixing Steampunk genre with Indiana Jones-style adventure, the book has a strong forward momentum that takes the reader from the halls of the Bedlam Asylum to the rainforests of Australia. Modo, twisted and deformed in the manner of Quasimodo, has the gift of shape changing, a means of passing for normal in the worlds he infiltrates at the direction of his mentor, Mr. Socrates. Modo is actually a complex character, physically imperfect and yearning for someone to embrace him despite his difference. His desire for Octavia, his cohort in adventure, is mostly unrequited but there is that thrill of romantic possibility that permeates their relationship. His revelation of his true face to her, and her rejection of his twisted form, is a climactic scene setting up a tentative future in their relationship. In this story, the company of adventurers seeks the God Face, known to drive people mad, but valued for its powers. Of course, the evil Clockwork Guild lead by Miss Hakkandottir, a truly worthy villainess, seeks the God Face for its own nefarious purposes. The book's one peculiarity is the location of the God Face, in an Egyptian temple in the jungles of Australia. The likelihood of Egyptians getting to the Southern Hemisphere in reed boats is a stretch of credulity, but suspend belief long enough to enjoy the action. Perhaps the story's greatest strength is in Modo's encounter with a primitive tribe of Rain People in the forests where he finds that their native civility to the old and the disabled is a lesson for more sophisticated people. This is a rich, exciting series for thrill seekers. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
Kirkus Reviews

Brittania's secret weapon, shape-changing orphan Modo, returns for a third steampunky, jingoistic outing.

Somewhere in the Australian rain forest, the last remnant of an Egyptian civilization hides the God Face, a fabled treasure that drives men mad. Modo and fellow teen agent Octavia are on the case again, this time accompanied by their supervisor, Mr. Socrates, and his Indian servant/friend, Tharpa. As in the previous volumes, dialogue feels forced, especially the "reparting" (as Seven Dials–raised urchin Octavia calls the witty banter), and far too much internal monologue is focused on Modo's face, even when he is not "speaking." Fast-paced action sequences include airships, potentially dangerous natives and, of course, the Clockwork Guild and the wicked, metal-handed Miss Hakkandottir. These mostly balance the flaws, and the world continues to be delightfully inventive, although a cursed Egyptian tomb falls flatter than orphan-powered machines beneath London (The Hunchback Assignments, 2009) or an undersea Utopia (The Dark Deeps, 2010). An undercurrent of pro-British, racist behavior from Mr. Socrates may leave some readers uncomfortable, but Modo seems poised to challenge these attitudes, and he defies some of them here. Perhaps most important to fans, Modo finds that his appearance and amazing shape-changing skills may be linked to the tomb, and he may not be as singular as he feared.

Another fun outing, sure to please series fans. (Steampunk. 10-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385737869
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Series: Hunchback Assignments Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 418,004
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

ARTHUR SLADE has published several novels for young readers, including The Hunchback Assignments; Dark Deeps: The Hunchback Assignments 2; Jolted: Newton Starker's Rules for Survival; Megiddo's Shadow; Tribes; and Dust, which won the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with his wife, Brenda Baker, and their daughter. Visit him on the Web at ArthurSlade.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lots of action, lots of fun

    This wonderful adventure series that began with The Hunchback Assignments and The Dark Deeps surfaces yet again with another fantastic Indiana Jones-'esque' story that provides the reader with a seriously good time. Modo is back. This is a young man who began his training as an agent for Britain's Permanent Association when he was just fourteen years old. Modo's boss, Mr. Socrates, has been his advisor, protector, and mentor for a good, long time. Tharpa, Modo's weapons master, is still right by the side of Mr. Socrates and always helping Modo with his training; while Octavia, Modo's fellow agent, is still as saucy, complex, and hysterical as she's always been. In this new adventure, a slimy treasure seeker by the name of Alexander King has worked his way through 'bodies' to find a map that leads to a ruin in the middle of Queensland, Australia. In this far away location, buried deep in a rainforest that is protected by a native tribe, lies what is called 'The God Face.' But this is no easy treasure to escape with. After all, it is rumored that 'The God Face' actually makes people go insane the minute they gaze upon it. Modo has been sitting around his home and he's getting bored. He rarely ever goes outside because, of course, Modo has a frightening face. His features are harsh and he scares people on sight. Thankfully, the gift he has of being able to transform his facial muscles into any face he wants to create, is what helps him when he's on the outside. One day a letter arrives that sends Modo into an asylum to speak with prisoner 376. That man basically tells a riddle to Modo - a riddle that makes Mr. Socrates pack up and head straight to Australia. Octavia is on her own mission, a mission that involves retrieving a treasure map. Unfortunately for her mission to be a success, Octavia must escape a man named Visser and his iron falcons; creatures with beaks and claws dipped in poison that dive-bomb her at every turn. Visser was hired to get the map away from Octavia and into the hands of the Clockwork Guild - the evil organization that has been against Mr. Socrates and trying to capture Modo for what seems like forever. Who will get to 'The God Face' first? And once there, who will be able to retrieve a treasure that could permanently steal your mind from your body? Yet again, Mr. Slade has done a spectacular job of writing a story that moves quickly, offers a ton of action, and really gets into the heart of its main character. The emotional scenes that have Octavia finally being able to set her eyes upon the real Modo, are truly lovely to read. And finding out whether a wonderful caring young man with a frightening face can be her Prince Charming, is even more powerful to discover. Book lovers everywhere will simply race through this and demand book number 4! Quill Says: A younger version of the great Clive Cussler adventures!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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