Raiders' Ransom

Emily Diamand, Author . Scholastic/Chicken House $17.99 (334p) ISBN 978-0-545-14297-7

This watery—and watertight—adventure, winner of the Times /Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition in the U.K., takes place in the 23rd century after “the Collapse,” which survivors interpret as “punishment for the greed of the olden times.” Inhabitants of villages, the waterlogged city of “Lunden,” and marshes controlled by raiders survive by fishing or by searching ancient landfills for “stuff the olden-times folks thought was rubbish.” Two 13-year-old protagonists, Lilly, a fisher, and Zeph, a raider, narrate. After raiders attack Lilly's fishing village and kidnap Lexy, the prime minister's daughter, Lilly seeks to prevent war by disguising herself as a boy and attempting to offer a jewel for Lexy's ransom. Her plans go awry when her DNA activates the jewel, which is actually a computer that awakens with entertaining peevishness: “Am I safe? Is someone going to smash me?” When Lilly and Zeph meet, an unlikely friendship develops due to their shared moral compass (both question their elders' supposed wisdom). Good-hearted, engaging protagonists, dramatic sea battles, a solid sense of humor, and a novel blend of medieval and futuristic technologies distinguish this notable debut. Ages 8–12. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/30/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 368 pages - 978-0-606-15315-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-0792-5
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-545-14298-4
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-545-41512-5
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