Secrets of the Dragon Tomb

Patrick Samphire, illus. by Jeremy Holmes. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9906-5
Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan's eccentric family is driving him up the wall in Samphire's delightful fantasy debut, set on Mars in an alternate 1816. Edward's father is one of the greatest scientists of British Mars, responsible for adapting the technology taken from the ancient tombs of now-extinct Martian dragons. He's developed robot servants, self-propelled carriages, and a water abacus capable of solving scientific problems faster than any human. However, the man is completely oblivious to the outside world, including the social scheming of Edward's mother and the recklessness of Edward's nine-year-old sister, Parthenia. Edward decides that he must lay aside his plans of becoming a spy and adventurer—he needs to protect his family from their own lack of survival instincts. Samphire's swashbuckling tale is both a pitch-perfect pastiche of a Victorian serial and a well-rounded, three-dimensional story of a boy learning that the world is more complicated than he thought. Abundant humor, intricate worldbuilding details, and precisely timed slapstick and mayhem mesh as neatly as the gears and levers of the water abacus, producing a gorgeously articulated clockwork of a novel. Ages 10–14. Author's agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/09/2015
Release date: 01/12/2016
Ebook - 978-0-8050-9907-2
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-250-10415-1
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-606-39941-8
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