Vesper Holly returns in The Xanadu Adventure by Lloyd Alexander, and sets out with her pals for the Troy of Homer's Iliad-only to discover they've been led into a trap set by Dr. Helvitius, who imprisons the group in a palace called Xanadu. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Lloyd Alexander, well known for his more adult fantasy novels, is with this book closing out the Vesper Holly series, one created to fill the empty spaces where smart, spunky, adventurous heroines ought to be. Vesper has been called on several times in past novels to save the world in exotic places, and this narrative set in Xanadu, is no exception. Vesper has her final showdown with the evil Dr. Helvitius, accompanied as always by her biographer, the prissy Professor Brinton Garrett and his beloved wife Mary, and a newer character, "the Weed," or Tobias Wister Passavant. Vesper is comely and wealthy. The Weed is gangly and awkward but of a scientific bent. After all the villains are [finally] conquered, Vesper and Tobias marry and produce a child, thus apparently putting an end to her need to travel. Witty prose and sly jokes at Dr. Brinton Garrett's expense make this a lively read. Fans of this series will grow up to read and enjoy Elizabeth Peters. 2005, Dutton's Children's Books, 145 pp., Ages young adult.
Myrna Dee Marler
Gr 5-7-It is 1876, and Professor Brinton Garrett reluctantly agrees to accompany his ward, the irrepressible Vesper Holly; his wife Mary; and Vesper's friend Tobias ("The Weed") on a research trip to the site of the ancient city of Troy. En route, they are captured in Asia Minor by none other than Vesper's archenemy, Dr. Helvitius. After much derring-do and many improbable plot twists, the intrepid travelers manage to save both themselves and the world, and Vesper and The Weed even get married along the way. The action is almost nonstop, broken only by a fair amount of pontificating (both the professor and Helvitius are long-winded types), and readers won't get much of a sense of the exotic locale. Although Vesper is her usual plucky and quick-witted self, the character who really shines is our dear narrator, the long-suffering but lovable professor. His love for his family adds dimension to the wild action and makes the final plot twist all the sweeter. Buy where the series is popular.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Intrepid is the word for Vespar Holly. It's 1876, but unlike most girls her age of that era, Vespar is a classical scholar with a strong sense of adventure. In the past, she has dealt with natural disasters, assassination attempts and other dastardly deeds. In this newest addition to the series, she's in Greece searching for Troy. She and her companions are swept up in a demented plot by their archrival Helvitius. They are carried away to an island on which he has built a version of Xanadu, along with a factory that produces a deadly chemical compound that foreshadows modern weapons of mass destruction. Poison, imprisonment, daring escapes-nothing can stop them. For they are from Philadelphia, a location that endows them with every admirable virtue. Alexander's language has just the right touch of 19th-century syntax and sensibility. The characters may be caricatures, but they are delightful and charming. Moreover, there's a lovely surprise ending for romantically inclined readers. Just plain fun. (Fiction. 10-14)