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The Rule of Claw

The Rule of Claw

4.0 1
by John Brindley, Ian P. Benfold Haywood (Illustrator)

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Ash and her friends are the only human teenagers left on earth. They've grown up alone, without adults, in the safety of their camp. Beyond the fence, there's only death and danger. When Ash is kidnapped by the savage, hideously clawed Raptors, she becomes a pawn in their battle for supremacy. Will she survive? And what will she do when she learns the frightening


Ash and her friends are the only human teenagers left on earth. They've grown up alone, without adults, in the safety of their camp. Beyond the fence, there's only death and danger. When Ash is kidnapped by the savage, hideously clawed Raptors, she becomes a pawn in their battle for supremacy. Will she survive? And what will she do when she learns the frightening truth of their origins? A thrilling adventure of accelerated evolution, genetic engineering, and global warming—with the fate of the whole human race at stake.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Attempting to mix genetic modification and global warming with intense action sequences, Brindley (Amy Peppercorn: Beyond the Stars) bites off more than he can chew, sandwiching his novel around a heavy proscience, antireligion message. Ash has grown up among the ASPs (named for the "Admittance Strictly Prohibited" sign posted outside their camp), teens abandoned as small children who formed a primitive society based on surfing and vegetarianism. But when she is kidnapped and delivered into the wild, she must deal with warlike Raptors (mutants possessed of sharp claws) and peace-loving Rodents (also mutated from humans). The nearly nonstop action doesn't hide awkward writing: "You are mine to destroy and devour"-that's Ash somehow understanding a look from a Raptor who doesn't share her facial features. A subplot emerging in the final sections that features antievolution religious zealots further destabilizes the story. Ages 12-18. (Mar.)

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Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Ash and a small group of young people live near the beach and within the confines of a place they call ASP (Admittance Strictly Prohibited). Beyond the barbed wire fence is a hostile environment of warring Blue and Yellow raptors (the latter more benevolent) and menacing and deadly plants and bloodsucking creatures. Ash is taken captive by the Blue Raptors and there she meets Rat Rodent, one of a highly evolved species of rats living in subterranean tunnels under the city. It is Rat who tells Ash that it was her father, Professor Helix, whose genetic enhancing speeded up evolution until eventually all things died out. Ash and her friends are a small group unaffected by the process. The evil Talon wants to wage war against all rodents and Agles, as Ash and her kind are called. With the help of Rat and his wife Really, Ash escapes the raptors and is returned to her friends where she encounters a greater threat. Captain Charles Beagle, of the ship The Ark, has arrived on their island seeking untainted humans to preserve the holy likeness of Genome—the Lord and Creator. A violent battle between good and evil ensues. This is a very ambitious novel with a heavy-handed anti-genetic-engineering, anti-religion, antiwar message. The text is overly long although the very short chapters give the impression that it is moving at a brisk pace. The Agles' underdeveloped language skills prove tiresome after a while and the constant need to repeat phrases is annoying. Within the lengthy plot are some very tense moments of action and suspense that are often interrupted for pontificating. Tighter editing would have resulted in a more exciting and appealing story. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

In this dark, futuristic novel, 15-year-old Ash lives with more than two dozen teens in a fortified beach compound, where they had been left by their parents years earlier. Ash, a champion surfer and the de facto camp leader, is abducted by predatory Raptors, a mutant species that lives in the remains of a human city. While struggling to escape, she encounters friendly, peace-loving rodents, a cross between humans and rats. Their leader informs Ash that her father, Professor Helix, was inadvertently responsible for the genetic mutations that largely destroyed the human race. Following a war between the human/rat allies and the Raptors, the novel concludes with the fragile promise of peace and cooperation among all three species. Brindley's fast-paced novel is initially difficult to follow as it's unclear what has happened to human adults and why some of Ash's friends are showing signs of mutation. The teens' slowly devolving society is reminiscent of William Golding's classic Lord of the Flies with Ash unable to stop her friends from violating their own long-standing rules. In The Rule of Claw , the teens are rescued not by adults, but by the redemption offered by the rats and their own dawning recognition that they can choose to live in cooperation. Science fiction fans will enjoy the constant action, richly drawn characters, and fully realized setting.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD

Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Ash and her tribe of teens have lived in the relative safety of the ASP beach camp for eight years; each was dropped off by an adult who then vanished. Dense jungles full of deadly menace line the landward wire fence. Moments after Ash appears to lose control of ASP to power-hungry and terminally stupid Jon, she's kidnapped and thrown into a power struggle between warring clans of sentient raptors. On escape, she learns from super-evolved rodents living under the Raptor city that genetic experimentation has caused evolution to accelerate. To save her friends, Ash must orchestrate a battle between human-genome-worshipping zealots and the evil king of the Raptors. Brindley's first American publication dips its toe in the science of recombinant DNA and evolution before diving headlong into science fantasy. The linguistic quirks of Ash and her "Agles" quickly become more annoying than intriguing, and the imaginatively conceived world and passable adventure sink beneath repetitious dialogue and unnecessary descriptions of the self-evident. This and the sequel, The City of Screams, out shortly, will fit best in large, well-used adventure collections. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Exceptional Reading and Language Arts Titles for Upper Grades Ser.
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.70(d)
HL740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

John Brindley worked as a bricklayer, an electrician, and a copy machine salesman before his first book was published in Great Britain 1998. The Rule of Claw is his first book to be published in the U.S.

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The Rule of Claw 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago