A Girl Named Disaster; The Ear, the Eye and the Arm) novel may be futuristic, but it hits close to home, raising "/>
 

THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION

Nancy Farmer, Author
Nancy Farmer, Author . Atheneum/Jackson $17.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-689-85222-0
Paperback - 978-0-7862-6990-7
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4391-0655-6
Hardcover - 515 pages - 978-0-7862-5048-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-4173-5
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-0-689-85223-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-30742-0
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-0-689-83770-8
Compact Disc - 9 pages - 978-0-7435-7246-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-2808-7
Prebound-Other - 380 pages - 978-1-4176-1900-9
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-1-4711-1831-9
Hardcover - 308 pages - 978-0-689-83687-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-7247-7
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Farmer's (A Girl Named Disaster; The Ear, the Eye and the Arm) novel may be futuristic, but it hits close to home, raising questions of what it means to be human, what is the value of life, and what are the responsibilities of a society. Readers will be hooked from the first page, in which a scientist brings to life one of 36 tiny cells, frozen more than 100 years ago. The result is the protagonist at the novel's center, Matt—a clone of El Patrón, a powerful drug lord, born Matteo Alacrán to a poor family in a small village in Mexico. El Patrón is ruler of Opium, a country that lies between the United States and Aztlán, formerly Mexico; its vast poppy fields are tended by eejits, human beings who attempted to flee Aztlán, programmed by a computer chip implanted in their brains. With smooth pacing that steadily gathers momentum, Farmer traces Matt's growing awareness of what being a clone of one of the most powerful and feared men on earth entails. Through the kindness of the only two adults who treat Matt like a human—Celia, the cook and Matt's guardian in early childhood, and Tam Lin, El Patrón's bodyguard—Matt experiences firsthand the evils at work in Opium, and the corruptive power of greed ("When he was young, he made a choice, like a tree does when it decides to grow one way or the other... most of his branches are twisted," Tam Lin tells Matt). The author strikes a masterful balance between Matt's idealism and his intelligence. The novel's close may be rushed, and Tam Lin's fate may be confusing to readers, but Farmer grippingly demonstrates that there are no easy answers. The questions she raises will haunt readers long after the final page. Ages 11-14. (Oct.)

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