cover image The Obsidian Blade

The Obsidian Blade

Pete Hautman. Candlewick, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5403-0

In this thrilling first volume of the Klaatu Diskos trilogy, 13-year-old Tucker Feye’s ordinary life in smalltown Minnesota changes dramatically when his father, a preacher, disappears through a mysterious disk near the roof of their house. He reappears an hour later, without his religious faith, but with Lahlia, an awkward young woman who he claims is from Bulgaria. When, a year later, Tucker’s parents both vanish, he sets out to find them, aided by Lahlia and his biker uncle, Kosh. Tucker discovers that the “diskos,” which were created by a noncorporeal artist from the distant future, allow travel between time and place. The result is a whirlwind tour of some unpleasant societies and moments in human history, some of which (such as the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers) are jaw-dropping—this might be Hautman’s most daring book yet. Throughout, Hautman (The Big Crunch) raises significant issues concerning family, faith, and destiny. Well-developed and complex characters, a fascinating time travel framework (including dispatches from the far future), and a heart-stopping conclusion will leave readers looking forward to the next book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jennifer Flannery, Flannery Literary. (Apr.)