Favorite story lines and characters forge ahead this fall. In what PW called "an intriguing debut" set in 1920, Operation Red Jericho introduced siblings Becca and Doug in the first of a planned trilogy. The second installment of The Guild of Specialists, Operation Typhoon Shore by Joshua Mowll, opens as a typhoon hits the South China Seas-and guess who is still on board their uncle's ship, attempting to track down their parents? High-stakes adventures continue on the high seas as brother and sister find more clues to the Guild's inner workings and their parents' whereabouts. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The indomitable Rebecca and Doug MacKenzie, of Operation Red Jericho (Candlewick Press, 2005/VOYA December 2005), have escaped the island hideaway of Chinese pirate Sheng-Fat, which lies in rubble, and fled their remaining enemies. Their battle-damaged ride-their uncle's ship, Expedient-barely survives a typhoon and limps into harbor on a seemingly deserted island. There they discover further clues, left behind by previous members of the Honorable Guild of Specialists, regarding the disappearance of their parents-along with a former adversary. The MacKenzie's are determined to continue the search for their parents, but a ship in need of repairs, the mysterious and possibly lethal experiments taking place on the island, and nearly five hundred deadly Kalaxx warriors, stand in their way. Doug's technical know-how and Becca's sword-wielding panache will, once again, prove invaluable. The story picks up just hours after the events concluding the first book, and there is little exposition to ground readers who are not thoroughly familiar with prior events. Readers must rely on familiarity with the previous volume to untangle the large cast of characters, significant backstory, and multitude of complex plot strands. In sidebars, "archival" materials, and detailed renderings and foldouts, Mowll reintroduces the characters, technical concepts, and fantastical elements that might otherwise leave readers perplexed. Those with good memories-or the willingness to stick with the book when confused-will find improved pacing, as well as all the explosions, secret rooms, and near-misses for which one could wish.
VOYA - Catherine Gilmore Clough
The second book of the "Guild Trilogy" is full of adventure and science fiction and opens with, "The typhoon had chosen its quarry that night and was chasing hard: an injured ship, a straggler showing signs of battle damage, hounded to exhaustion across the Celebes Sea." From there each page is filled with excellent writing, clear descriptions, and a choice of vocabulary that holds the reader's attention and keeps him or her on the edge of the chair. The story is told both from entries in Becca's diary and from the third-person narrative. This is a very interesting writing method that adds ease and understanding to the story. After the typhoon hits, the ship lands on an island where dreadful Kalaxx warriors are found. Becca and Doug are able to delve into information that may well help them find their missing parents. Their main concern is whether or not they can accomplish this before the Kalaxx warriors attack them. Throughout the book the author has placed separate foldout pages entitled "Confidential Materials." The pictures are fantastic. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Both girls and boys will love it. This is the kind of story that friends will share and talk about. The story has great characters and plot, and the setting is awesome. This book certainly sets the stage for the third in the trilogyand it would not surprise me if this series becomes a movie. 2006, Candlewick Press, Ages 10 up.
Kathie M. Josephs
In this second adventure, Becca and her brother, Doug, have escaped Wenzi Island, but find themselves right back in the action. Their ship is struck by a powerful typhoon and is driven ashore on a group of islands. There the two teens; their uncle, Captain MacKenzie; and his brave crew find themselves once again facing their nemesis, Pembleton-Crozier, and his army of Kalaxx warriors. It takes all of their ingenuity, bravery, and wit to figure out his intent and why the islands are so very important to these enemies of the Guild of Specialists. This book rolls along with plenty of action and fun. Readers will be captivated by the story line, but also will be intrigued by all of the sketches, photographs, newspaper clippings, and foldout information on technology. Encourage fans of Alex Rider and Eoin Colfer to try this series. Tasha SaeckerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The wild South Seas rumpus begun in Operation Red Jericho (2005) carries on as teen sibs Becca and Doug MacKenzie fetch up by chance on a remote island. There, a treacherous cabal within their vanished parents' secretive Honourable Guild of Specialists, supported by an army of brutal Russo-Chinese martial artists-cum-mining specialists, just happens to have constructed a giant power generator based on the science of an ancient lost civilization. Set in the early 1920s and well-matched by both a suitably colorful cast and over-the-top illustrations that feature, in a gleefully seamless mix of fact and fancy, an array of old photos, supposed artifacts and intricately detailed fold-out diagrams, the high speed action opens in a typhoon, closes with a massive volcanic eruption and hardly lets up in between. Great fun for fans of Alex Rider, or such outings as Carol Hughes's Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves (2001). (Fiction. 10-14)