cover image Ice Claw

Ice Claw

David Gilman, Delacorte, $16.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-385-73561-2

In Gilman's adrenaline-packed follow-up to The Devil's Breath (2007), teenage extreme sports enthusiast Max Gordon once again encounters dangerous killers and political conspiracies. This time, the action begins in the French Pyrenees, where Max, while competing in the Junior Xtreme competition, saves Sophie, a young environmental activist and parkour runner, from a beating at the hands of a motorcycle gang. Shortly thereafter, Max witnesses the assassination of a Basque monk and gets drawn into a conspiracy—along with Sophie, American student Bobby, and Max's best friend Sayid—that involves ancient prophecies, global warming, and disappearing animals. The pace is nonstop, combining sports action and combat, and the mystical additions to the adventure—mostly revolving around Max's ability to occasionally channel the power of animals—never overwhelm the fight scenes. The villains—especially the grotesque Tishenko and a street tough nicknamed Sharkface—are appropriately menacing and move the plot along nicely. Gilman writes a solid, occasionally thrilling action tale that manages to impart political, scientific, and geographic information without ever feeling like the dreaded "message" book. Ages 11–up. (Oct.)