cover image The League of Seven

The League of Seven

Alan Gratz, illus. by Brett Helquist. Tor/Starscape, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3822-8

Archie Dent’s parents, who are researchers for the secretive Septemberist Society in a steampunk 1875 America, have just discovered that one of the monstrous immortal Mangleborn, imprisoned centuries earlier, is about to rise again. Legends say that seven heroes will emerge to defeat the monsters, so 12-year-old Archie isn’t worried—until a Mangleborn called the Swarm Queen takes control of his parents’ brains. To save them, Archie teams up with Hachi, a Seminole girl with excellent fighting skills and a dark past, and Fergus, a young inventor scarred by his experiments with electricity. The formation of the League requires a strong ensemble cast, and Gratz (Prisoner B-3087) delivers admirably in this first installment in a planned trilogy, even with only three of its members yet introduced. An enticing alternate history presents an America in which Native tribes have as much power and presence as Yankees, with politics of their own to navigate. Gratz has created an imaginative world with appeal far beyond its immediate middle-grade market. Art not seen by PW. Ages 10–14. Author’s agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)