Empire of Ruins: The Hunchback Assignments 3by Arthur Slade
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!
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)
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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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!