Often, when YA novelists allow their characters to venture into foreign climes, an exotic locale serves little purpose but as a quaint backdrop. But fortunately for readers, Alexander makes the most of any territory Vesper Holly sets out to conquer. In her latest escapade, Vesper and her loyal guardian Brinnie journey to the North African country of Jedera in order to return a book to the library in the remote desert city of Bel-Saaba. In the course of their journey, the intrepid Philadelphians are sold into slavery, rescued by a fierce, blue-skinned Tawarik warrior and reunited with old friends from The El Dorado Adventure . Not surprisingly, they are also reunited with an old nemesis, the fiendish Dr. Helvitius, the mastermind behind the nastiness they've unearthed, whom Vesper vanquishes (temporarily, no doubt). Once again, the author succeeds in combining impeccably paced adventure with a thoughtful, compassionate evocation of a foreign land. All Vesper Holly's adventures enhance American readers' perceptions of life outside their own country: in addition to being solid entertainment, the books have the power to create a host of well-informed armchair travelers. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989 Release date: 04/01/1989 Genre: Children's
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