Review Blog

Dec 09 2009

Operation Storm City by Joshua Mowll

cover image

Walker Books, 2008. ISBN: 9781844286478.
(Age: 10-14) Book Three of the Guild of Specialists trilogy; books one and two were Operation Red Jericho and Operation Typhoon Shore. This handsome hardback looks appealing; photographs, documents, water colours, diary extracts and pencil sketches capture exotic India in the 1920s with its maharajan palaces, temples and characters. Fold out pages describe intricate devices and mechanisms created by long lost civilizations involved in the good v evil world domination struggle, as well as the interiors of the Zeppelin and the maharaja's personal luxury train. History and fantasy blend in this 'Alex Rider meets the da Vinci Code' swashbuckling adventure which has it all - secret societies, codes, flame throwing Cossacks on horseback, tsarist plotters, swordfights, tattooed lips, not to mention mysterious Chinese warrior sects.
Teenage superheroes Becca and Doug Mackenzie return to their old family home in Lucknow, India, searching for clues to their missing parents' expedition route and the fabled city of Ur Can, known as Storm City, in remote Sinkiang. They embark on a journey to the Takla Makan desert, racing against the enemy by steam train, riverboat and Zeppelin airship across the Himalayas! They often escape death by a hair's breadth, as when Liberty pilots an aircraft out of a doomed airship. Becca and Doug possess amazing skills such as navigation and sword fighting and whilst they act like modern children they are fantastic creations.
It would have helped to have read the first two books in the series as the siblings meet up again with a bewildering array of characters from the first books and prior knowledge of the sects and societies involved would have made it less confusing. It's action all the way and one for the fans of this genre. The presentation and packaging make it a keepsake and are the distinguishing features of the book. One thing seemed strange to me was how reticent the children were on meeting their long-lost-given-up-for-dead parents - no joyous reunion to find them alive! Perhaps it's a British thing!
Kevyna Gardner

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