The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon

The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon

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by S. S. Taylor
     
 

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Computers have failed, electricity is extinct, and the race to discover new lands is underway! Brilliant explorer Alexander West has just died under mysterious circumstances, but not before smuggling half of a strange map to his intrepid children—Kit the brain, M.K. the tinkerer, and Zander the brave. Why are so many government agents trying to steal the half-map… See more details below

Overview

Computers have failed, electricity is extinct, and the race to discover new lands is underway! Brilliant explorer Alexander West has just died under mysterious circumstances, but not before smuggling half of a strange map to his intrepid children—Kit the brain, M.K. the tinkerer, and Zander the brave. Why are so many government agents trying to steal the half-map? (And where is the other half?) It’s up to Alexander’s children—the Expeditioners—to get to the bottom of these questions, and fast.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this series kickoff, Taylor (Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean) introduces a fascinating world where history took a different turn. The invention of computers in 1880—and their failure a century later—has led to the discovery of strange lands not on any map as well as the rise of steampunk technology in place of gasoline and electricity. Siblings Zander, Kit, and M.K.—14, 13, and 10, respectively—are forced to go on the run after they discover a map created by their deceased father, a renowned explorer, which points the way to a massive hidden treasure, one coveted by the corrupt Bureau of Newly Discovered Lands. As their journey takes them into the depths of a long-hidden region, they encounter all manner of dangers. The author's evident love of maps and exploration strengthens this Indiana Jones–style adventure, which is filled with nifty gadgets, moments of moderate terror, and high stakes. The retro-futuristic technology, never-before-seen sights, and danger provide plenty of fodder for Roy's playful illustrations, which have an adventurous, Jonny Quest flair. Ages 10–up. Agent: Esmond Harmsworth, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

A Winter 2012–13 Kids’ Indie Next List Pick!

Nominated for a 2014-2015 Texas Bluebonnet Award!

“Nifty gadgets, moments of moderate terror, and high stakes... Roy’s playful illustrations have an adventurous, Jonny Quest flair.”—Publishers Weekly

"Can three orphaned siblings with half a map beat an oppressive government to a secret, gold-filled canyon?

Set in a future where the hacking of computers and depletion of natural resources has caused a return to steam and clockwork engines, Taylor’s novel crosses dystopian and steampunk genres in this fast-paced, plot-driven tale. An Explorer with a clockwork hand smuggles an old book to Kit, the book’s narrator. With his two siblings, brave Zander and preteen inventor M.K., he forms the Expeditioners, breaking the code hidden in the book and finding half a map from their late father, Alexander West, an Explorer of the Realm. Off they go to find the other half of the map and follow it, facing giant green slugs, huge birds and evil government agents. The black-and-white cartoon-style illustrations and the portrayal of wrench-wielding, smart-mouthed, fearless M.K. lighten the tone of the lengthy text and its underlying message of mistreatment of natural resources and indigenous peoples. The premise that there are undiscovered places, that '[a] map of the world isn’t a fixed thing. We know only what we can see,' is an intriguing one.

Full of kid power, clues, codes and maps, this will appeal to sophisticated readers who appreciate their adventure served with heaping helpings of cleverness."—Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderful example of steampunk done well.”—School Library Journal

“Beautifully written and nail-bitingly thrilling, this is an easy series to get hooked on.”—San Francisco Chronicle

"Smart, enjoyable storytelling."—ForeWord Reviews

"The story moves at a thrilling pace, and the adventure will capture the imagination of readers. Roy's illustrations add another terrific element to the story; the jacket, endpapers, and cover of the hardcover book are stunning. I hope this title marks the first in a series."—The Show Me Librarian

"The Expeditioners has it all: secret maps, hidden treasure, villains, cool gadgets, plenty of adventure, and three intrepid siblings joining forces to save the day. Middle graders will love it, but this middle-ager couldn’t put it down."—Shelf Unbound

"Sarah Stewart Taylor has a penchant for adventure that has led her to pen books with a wide-ranging sense of place and appeal." —Rutland Herald

"The Expeditioners rollicks, twists, turns and chases through canyons and arroyos, along airships and gliders, through boxcars and crumbling mansions, and on the way the heroes uncover all sorts of fabulous mysteries through their own cunning and bravery. It is a thoroughly smashing read."—Boing Boing

"An exciting adventure."—Common Sense Media

"Beautifully written. S.S. Taylor writes a book for kids that sophisticated adult readers will love, too. Be prepared to do some heavy negotiating for your household’s copy!" —Betty Confidential

"The Expeditioners will surely intrigue you." —The Daily Pretzel

"'The Expeditioners' is an exciting ride from beginning to end." —Cracking the Cover

Praise for O' Artful Death:
"Taylor does a lovely job of setting an atmospheric scene and luring us inside."
The New York Times Book Review

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Christopher (Kit) West, 13, his older brother, Zander and younger sister, M.K. live in a complicated, dangerous world. Their mother died when M.K. was an infant and Zander barely remembers her. Their father, a famous map-maker and explorer, disappeared and is assumed dead. Their last memory of him is his departing words, "Remember, You're the Expeditioners." Their circle is complete with Pucci, a talking Fazian Black Knight Parrot with artificial metal talons, whom Zander rescued from a stray cat. The children's futuristic world is controlled by the BNDL, the Bureau of Newly Discovered Lands, and even though the children are left to fend for themselves, they can't shake the feeling that BNDL officials are watching them. Why? Is it because regular citizens aren't allowed to own parrots like Pucci? Did their father leave them a yet undiscovered treasure map that the powers-that-be desperately seek? Did their father discover the lost gold of the early Spanish Explorers? When a mysterious stranger with a clockwork hand waylays Kit to give him a package "from your dad," the little family's world is turned upside down and they travel to Arizona to continue their father's treasure hunt. Along the way they team up with Sukey Neville, daughter of a famous explorer in her own right who knew and liked their dad, and travel to Arizona to find the fabled treasure. The four encounter plenty of adventure, dangerous predatory animals, undiscovered fauna such as giant cave-dwelling slugs, a previously unknown tribe of cliff dwelling people and more nefarious adults that anyone can handle. Whom can they trust? Will they ever find out what really happened to their father? Will they even make it out alive? Fans of adventure books, who have grieved that no more "Harry Potter" books are forthcoming, will rejoice in this compelling middle-grade novel with, hopefully, more books about the "Expeditioners" to come. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—With their father presumed dead, all of his maps and papers taken, and their food supply eliminated, Zander, Kit, and M. K. West have lost all trust in the government, particularly the repressive Bureau of Newly Discovered Lands (BNDL). Their father, a once-famous Explorer and mapmaker (planet Earth has more continents and land formations than previously thought), was suddenly labeled a traitor and the BNDL seems up to no good in its search of a mythical cache of gold. But now the siblings-the Expeditioners, so named by their father-discover that they are in possession of one map that the government missed. With agents on their tail and no money, the three youngsters and their steel-clawed talking parrot set off to follow the hidden trail of clues left by their father. With the help of a glider pilot, they reach the Grand Canyon and follow the map in an attempt to find Drowned Man's Canyon and the elusive gold mine. A wonderful example of steampunk done well, this thoroughly satisfying adventure contains enough danger and suspense to keep even reluctant readers turning the pages.—Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Can three orphaned siblings with half a map beat an oppressive government to a secret, gold-filled canyon? Set in a future where the hacking of computers and depletion of natural resources has caused a return to steam and clockwork engines, Taylor's novel crosses dystopian and steampunk genres in this fast-paced, plot-driven tale. An Explorer with a clockwork hand smuggles an old book to Kit, the book's narrator. With his two siblings, brave Zander and preteen inventor M.K., he forms the Expeditioners, breaking the code hidden in the book and finding half a map from their late father, Alexander West, an Explorer of the Realm. Off they go to find the other half of the map and follow it, facing giant green slugs, huge birds and evil government agents. The black-and-white cartoon-style illustrations and the portrayal of wrench-wielding, smart-mouthed, fearless M.K. lighten the tone of the lengthy text and its underlying message of mistreatment of natural resources and indigenous peoples. The premise that there are undiscovered places, that "[a] map of the world isn't a fixed thing. We know only what we can see," is an intriguing one. Full of kid power, clues, codes and maps, this will appeal to sophisticated readers who appreciate their adventure served with heaping helpings of cleverness. (Fantasy. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781938073670
Publisher:
McSweeney's Publishing
Publication date:
12/11/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
198,354
File size:
8 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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