cover image The Alchemist War

The Alchemist War

John Seven, illus. by Craig Philips. Capstone, $9.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-62370-011-9

Author Seven (A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy) opens the Time-Tripping Faradays series with a fast-paced and entertaining novel that leaps from the Roman Empire to the 25th century before settling into 17th-century Prague. The action centers on siblings Dawk and Hype Faraday, who time-travel with their parents to research information that has fallen between the cracks of recorded history. In the Faradays’ future, citizens can access the world’s body of knowledge via neural implants, as well as communicate instantaneously via the Link that connects their minds. (And, yes, even in the future, the comments one tends to get via this brain-based social network can be inane: “Go get beheaded!” “Try on some wigs,” suggest Dawk’s “Link friends” after he arrives in 1648 Prague.) Although Seven’s explanations of 25th-century technology slow down the novel’s early chapters, readers should be drawn into the siblings’ comical misadventures as they investigate whether an alchemist is trying to pull a fast one over on the Holy Roman Emperor. A second book, The Dragon of Rome, follows in October. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10–14. (Aug.)