cover image The White Fox Chronicles

The White Fox Chronicles

Gary Paulsen. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $8.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32254-6

Plotted much like a shoot-'em-up computer game, this often violent adventure shows the Newbery Honor author at his least literary. It is 2057, and the Confederation of Consolidated Republics (CCR) has decimated the United States (America's downfall, readers learn, has been precipitated by military cutbacks and the elimination of the CIA). The eponymous White Fox is Cody Pierce, a 14-year-old whose intelligence, ability to master military skills and sheer endurance would make him the envy of even a comic-book superhero (a comparison underscored by the graphics-style cover treatment). Confined to a prison camp and supposedly being indoctrinated in CCR thinking, ""in a cleansing experiment much like the one Hitler had tried with the youth of Germany,"" Cody has actually been hatching an escape plan. When a U.S. pilot from a well-organized resistance unit is captured and brought to the prison, Cody knows he must save her along with himself. The story line hurtles through hairbreadth rescues and encounters with loyal American fighters and bloodcurdlingly evil CCR soldiers as Cody shoots, punches and detonates his way out of the prison camp and back again, to even the score with his former captors. The dialogue is pure B-movie (""What is this foolish patriotism you Americans possess? Why would you be willing to be tortured?"") and, as in a B-movie, readers can cheer on the good guys without ever fearing that they might not triumph in the end. Ages 9-14. (June)