The Sightseers Agency picks up with Richard Pencil leaving the government position he took up at the end of the previous book. With the new world order well underway, the big three-letter agencies are breaking up, and Richard is going back to work with Joe Fraser and the man known as the Inlooker. Richard also has an impressive upgrade to his extra-sensory detective powers. He’s joined by a new remote-viewer, Miss Plum Duff, whose talents were honed by alien intervention. Fraser hires them to launch the the Sightseers Agency, reporting to him and their mysterious benefactor. Their mission is to oversee the behavior of elected officials, and another secret goal is revealed later. Seb Cage, who is now a talented computer security specialist (along with the skills he gained from the Sombrella Syndicate), joins the agency as well.
The Sightseers soon discover that the greatest threat to earth isn’t just from rogue officials and politicians, but also hostile aliens who have been planning an attack for some time. Complications arise because some of the aliens on Earth are friendly, while some are more like tourists who take on human form just to experience something different. Ms. Plum Duff comes into her own here, since she, like Seb, has a long history with regard to aliens.
Like the previous agency novel, there is an overarching plot that is played out in several different investigations. While the book is described as a series of whodunits set in the future, each case is a link in a chain that ultimately brings conflict on both a personal and global scale. I was glad to see more about the use of psychic mind-reading to ferret out lies and criminal activity, and the manipulation of auras and even the soul itself. There’s also the fascinating angle of this “new world” society, run on a democracy-on-demand system with a goal toward a true meritocracy. While some of this society’s social practices seem dystopian, others, like the use of Tesla’s wireless transmission of energy, offer a utopia of readily-available power.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout the Dreadnaught series is the author’s vivid imagination. His notes at the beginning of the books give real-world tales of psychics and UFO phenomenon that act as the launch pad for his stories. His humor and wordplay are also in full force, with inventive non-cuss words, ribald comedy—especially when it comes to Richard and his Lothario tendencies—and the continued jokes about “potties,” which are ubiquitous self-driving transport pods, giving “on the throne” a whole different meaning.
Overall, this series has been fun to read. The major recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note and fans of the series will be satisfied by the ending.
Pages: 307 | ASIN: B01KBAKX1E
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The Time Slipsters spans science fiction, travelogue, historical fiction and comedy while showing a vibrant world of the future and the past. What is the funnest part about imagining and writing the future?
The fun is in seeing things that are commonly regarded as Sci-Fi beginning to happen. I believe that research on the web reveals what a wonderful world we live in. If you look for articles on medical research, the motor industry and technology in general, it also indicates where the human race is heading.
We are already seeing Nano robots being used for keyhole surgery, drugs being tailored to combat and kill cancer cells, and the early diagnosis of dementia, to name but a few. Plus the whiff of flying cars and free power is in the air!
Imagine a world where the health service does not feel overwhelmed by an aging population, because old people are no longer suffering the ‘ravages of old age’. Why would that be? The answer is: treatment of their various sufferings is being mastered, until death they do part! By the way, I come into the latter category.
Envisage a world where travel is from home to destination, in minutes. No airports, no connecting flights or trains or buses or taxis. No squandering of natural resources, no electricity costs, no power stations needed, no pylons or towering wind vanes blotting the landscape. Much of what I describe has been available for over a century, if it were not for intervention of vested interests.
The characters end up traveling through time, and like many stories, their actions in the past affect the future. What was the most interesting part about writing a time travel story?
Getting into the heads of the characters on both sides of the experience of time travel. Drawing word pictures of the experience and conveying mental images to readers was fun too. It challenges my imagination to run riot. By the way, unlike Professor Hawking I do not believe that the death of an ancestor caused by a time traveler would have any impact whatsoever on his or her descendants.
The threat to Earth is revealed by uncovering the mystery of the aliens who have been living under the auspices of the Sombrella Syndicate. What was the inspiration for the Sombrella Syndicate?
I once worked for a Lloyds of London group of insurance syndicates, so am familiar with the concept. The deserted brickworks near where I live in Spain was an ideal undercover location for an alien base, but not big enough to house it, on the surface. Who better to man it, underground, than dwarfs, who have a reputation for mining and gold!
Time Slipsters is book three in the Dreadnought collective. Where does book 4 take the characters?
Book 4 takes the characters in an entirely new direction that totally engrossed me for a while. I took great interest in the feasibility of psychic involvement in crime detection. This added another dimension to the evolution of the Dreadnought Collective. The various characters in all the books are intertwined in book 5, the Sightseers Agency, which is now run under the auspices of the U.S. government, as is the entire collective. The individual agencies in the collective instantly become more effective as the two genres are mixed.
A group of friends who have drifted apart decide to reunite and take a trip together. It is the near future, and their intention is to travel on the latest type of transport, in order to visit the ancient sites in Turkey.
They want to do this in luxury, and the travel company they selected has done its best to accommodate their desires. They are lost for words when they first cast their eyes on the spectacular, gleaming new vehicle waiting for them. It is in fact alien in technology, and far more of a futuristic craft than a mere ground-hugging coach.
Unwittingly, they are entering a world where time travel is a reality and machines can cater for individuals as well as the masses.
Soon, they embarking on a sightseeing tour like no other they could have imagined, and meeting a time-travelling stranger who takes them under his wing.
More than one person has a hidden agenda, as they realise when reach a highly protected secret location. It contains hybrid creatures on which the Gods of mythology are based.
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The Hungry Monster Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
“Books are the linchpin of my existence. My earliest childhood memories revolve around the magic of reading, of being transported through time and space via a vivid story. Since I was old enough to know what a book was, I knew I was destined to write books as well.” – Don Templeton, author of Pretty Hate Machine
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Seb and his brother spend the summer in Spain with their grandfather who pulls them along on a journey to discover that the town is filled with dwarves of alien origin. What was the inspiration behind this fascinating idea?
The inspiration for this idea is that fact that my hometown in Spain contains a high number of perfectly proportioned very short people. I’m surrounded by ‘em!
I felt that the story was adventurous but also humorous. Did you have fun writing this novel?
Yes, especially as there is a deserted brickworks near where I live, which is much like I describe it – above ground! The research into UFOs and how they may be powered took longer; I was curious about them, having seen a few, usually in groups, as I grew up.
I felt the characters were well developed. What was your process in creating the characters and how did that change as you were writing?
It didn’t change much, if at all. The characters are nearly always based on real people, including my own family. We all circle each other warily.
Seb Cage Begins His Adventures is book one in the Dreadnought Collective. In what direction does book 2 take the story?
Book 2 is The Inlooker, which is pivotal to the expanding series and you have already reviewed that. It takes us into the near future, where Seb Cage is going to occupy a planet where the population is going to be drastically reduced by gentle means. The types of transport are also undergoing fundamental change, as are the methods by which we are ruled. This is where I need a lot of support from readers, since I am prophesying a future that can become reality, if we realise that it is achievable. My fear is that our senses are being dulled deliberately and we have to snap out of it.
Seb Cage joins the action in the third book in the series, The Time Slipsters. If the first book becomes a success and I live long enough with my marbles intact, the series will become volumes, and his continuing adventures will be related in Volume 1, Book 2.
Seb and his younger brother Bart customarily spend all of their long summer holiday in Spain, with their grandparents. Gradually, as they all become older, relationships are strained, as the old folk try to find things to keep the boys amused.
It is not long before the grandfather, Tumbler, who is a retired detective, is using Seb as a trainee investigator to keep tabs on the movements of a sector of the local town who he thinks ‘don’t fit it in’ – they are in fact dwarves of alien origin.
Soon, Tumbler and his apprentice are rumbled, and Seb is invited to join a summer campus. Coincidentally, this is run by the dwarves and has only recently been set up, virtually on the Tumbler’s doorstep!
At the campus, it gradually becomes apparent that Seb and his classmates have been chosen beforehand, by genetic engineering. They find that they possess special abilities, which have been implanted in them at an early age, and realise that these are now being developed in a matter of weeks.
Whatever plans they may have had for the future, their chosen destiny now awaits them.
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Coffin Dodgers is about a competition to be the last man standing, but with significantly higher stakes than your usual strong-man event. Survivathon takes place on the planet Atrocitas, a pre-historic world where the competitors need everything from high-tech gear to their own wits to make it to the end. While the planet and its inhabitants could spell the end for the various contestants, a sinister plot is waiting to spring out and make surviving the hardest game of all.
In the newest page-turner from Tom G.H. Adams, the thrills and the excitement are in full force. In the near-distant future, thrill seekers and endurance buffs clamor to become the winner of the inaugural Survivathon. With a high reward, but even higher risk, adrenaline junkies prepare to push their skills to the limit. However, making it through will be near impossible due to the beautiful yet deadly fauna and the creatures wanting to make meals of the newcomers. The players must also complete challenges that test mental and physical strength. The various entrants have advantages and disadvantages, but all have shown that they are up to the challenge. Ranging in gender, nationality, and skill-set, the players can either work together to survive, or split up to try to win the whole bounty. But there is another force they must overcome – a killer looking for a bigger prize than money.
Adams constructs a story that flows and keeps the pages flipping. It was hard to stop the momentum from building, and even when taking a breath, the stream of excitement is easy to hop back into. The action isn’t over the top and allows for the contrast of the quiet scenes to shine through. The choices of the characters feel natural for the most part and help move the story along. While the development is lacking, it doesn’t keep the book from being enjoyable. The world, Atrocitas, is described in rich detail and is the perfect setting for the Type-T’s (slang for thrill seekers).
While the narrative is easy to follow and allows the reader to understand everything, some of the twists and turns in the story could be seen coming from a mile away. And, with details being a high priority in this book, the descriptions could be a bit jarring. This shouldn’t deter interested readers, as the story’s pros far outweigh the cons.
All in all, Coffin Dodgers is not just a great title but also a solid story, interesting characters, and a hidden power to keep readers on a thrilling ride from beginning to end. The novel is worth anyone’s time and will have anyone wanting more thrill-seeking.
Pages: 164 | ASIN: B01N4ISYQQ
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Special Task Force: GREEN MAJIK, Pretty Hate Machine, written by Don Templeton, is a high paced action novel that begins with a suicide mission of a nine year old girl, Sadie Hawkins.
Soon after, during a homicide investigation, a phone call regarding a hard drive captures the attention of Detective Jack Carnahan; a man who teeters on the edge of breaking the law in order to capture the crooks. Through a twist of fate, the detective finds himself teaming up with an unlikely duo to expose an unimaginable terror that will shock the world.
Homeland Security, the FBI, alligator farmers and hypnotherapists intertwine in a race against time to find the truth before a terrible secret is unleashed.
Be prepared to cancel all prior engagements as this action packed, edge of your seat novel is a story you will not be prepared to put down. From the suburban streets of Colorado to the headquarters of police in Denver comes a tale of power-puff dressed, mini sized suicide attackers, Charlie’s Angels themed police officers, prostitutes and detectives who will withdraw a glock the moment strife arises.
Not for the faint hearted, the tone of the story is set with the opening chapter exploring a nine year old girl’s suicide mission within her school yard. Enthralled instantly, the reader is left to question what could possess such a terrifying act of horror. On the other side of town, Detective Jack Carnahan stumbles across a home invasion of a UFO crazed family man and soon finds himself working with unlikely allies- an acid addicted journalist and a perky prima donna porn star. The action will keep you on your toes as Carnahan races against time to discover what the connections could be between the brutal homicide and the suicide school yard mission. Not everything is as it seems and Carnahan dives deep into a storm of lies, deceit and ultimate evil.
Don Templeton has a remarkable talent in which he is able to paint a picture with his words and I easily envisioned his characters from the innocent Sadie to the curious hypnotherapist, Buffy Rayburn. The characters are introduced intermittently and together they form the pieces of an intriguing conspiracy puzzle.
Each character delves from unique circumstances. From thugs to hypnotherapists and journalists to prostitutes, every reader will find themselves a character who they adore.
My favourite character, Mallory Hammond, takes you on a journey into the swamps of Louisiana where she is investigating a gang of alligator farmers. Here she discovers a secret that will take you to the depths of your nightmares. Her co-workers perceive her as crazy and a somewhat introverted FBI agent however circumstances transform her from caterpillar to butterfly- a butterfly that is a sexy, capable, tomb raider style fighting machine who demands respect and admiration.
Don Templeton’s vivid imagery often evoked strong emotion through themes of violence, action and comradery and Jack Carnahan’s bravery and thirst for the truth will leave the readers hungry for more. From rescuing scantily dressed teenagers to stumbling across botched cover-ups, Templeton takes you on a whirlwind adventure which leaves you wondering, who can you really trust?
Pages: 379 | ASIN: B017FWYIVC
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The Nightmare From World’s End, a science fiction thriller by Robert J. Stava, takes place in Wyvern Falls located along the Hudson River. The action begins when various people begin to go missing along the river. Members of the community are confused about the disappearances until it’s discovered that a giant squid-like creature is wreaking havoc, leaving carnage and even more questions in its wake. That’s not all to the story, however. There isn’t just one creature, there’s two!
A major player in the chaos is John Easton, a private detective, begins to unravel the history around the two creatures. Alongside him is Sarah Ramhorne, a strong-headed Native American archeologist who seems to hold some of the answers. Together they, along with others, try to unravel the story that surrounds these two mysterious creatures and put a stop to the death that has been taking place along the Hudson River.
This book is definitely a thriller that will have readers flipping through the pages wondering what will happen next. The author holds nothing back when he describes each vicious attack committed by the giant squid. Also, the tie-in with Native American culture within the book was handled well. It’s obvious that Robert J. Stava did his research on the tribes in the Hudson Valley area, and while the main purpose of his book was to thrill his readers with the tale of giant, murderous, perhaps ancient sea creatures, a secondary purpose was to provide them with a history of the area and enlighten the reader on Native American history.
Adding to this point, Native American folklore is very present and relevant within the piece. The leading lady, Sarah makes it a point to educate those that she encounters about the injustice done to the tribes within the area. The author doesn’t just place Sarah’s dialogue as disconnected rants within the piece; it all leads up to the climax the unfolds towards the end of the story. This is evident through the actions of Crazy Jack, a homeless Native American (and real folklore character), that contributes to the climax of the story by waking up the second creature that lives on the other end of the river from where the squid is attacking. Throughout the story, Crazy Jack is guided by the voices of his ancestors, telling him what must be done in order to bring an end to the death and carnage unfolding.
This book has a lot going on it in; sea creatures, Native American history and folklore, a private detective with a tragic past, ancient aliens, mind-reading, and even ghosts. You name it, and it’s probably in this book. At times, it was a bit too much, and a little disconnected for the reader. Especially, the bit on ancient aliens. It’s hard to see how Guillamo Del Tesler and his fanatical theories about the river monster being an ancient alien come into play. He’s brought to the area after Jennie Roderick, a half-witted archaeologist student, mails him some doctored petroglyphs that indicate an alien existence within the area. While this part of the plot is an entertaining aside to the major drama going on in the story, it was difficult to discern how it actually contributed to the overall plot, if at all.
Overall, the author tells a good story. The entwinement of sci-fi thriller with Native American folklore is unique and provides a sturdy foundation upon which to base the plot of the entire story. Regardless of a couple smaller story lines falling out of place within the book, it was an entertaining read.
Pages: 249 | ASIN: B01MQLLNM3
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Seed Me follows Logan as he tries to navigate a murder, avoid a deadly cult and try to figure out who the girl was he made out with behind the dumpster. This is a unique setup to a novel. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this story?
The concept had evolved over time through various plots while keeping the same underlining theme of cults, a dead girl and carnivorous plants. The protagonist and scenarios changed from the original concept back in 2011. In a way, Seed Me is a prequel to the original manuscript. So there may be another book in the works in the future.
A lot of the inspiration that helped create Seed Me came from my own discomforts. For example, I had bed bugs back in 2011. They were hard to kill, only fed on human blood and spread like wildfire. I found it intriguing that a creature so small could cause something so large (being me) so much grief. This sparked my research into symbiotic relationships within nature. You see this style of monsters in the horror genre all the time. Some notable ones being John Carpenter’s The Thing or Ridley Scott’s Alien. This research is where a lot of the time was invested for the novel. I wanted to create a new kind of monster for the story l I was writing. Plants often get a bad wrap in the horror genre because they are difficult to make frightening, so I decided to challenge this.
As for the cult, religious groups are a huge interest of mine – you can see this in my Mental Damnation series as well. People have done some wild things in the name of their faith. It is a strong motivator.
I enjoyed the characters in this story because they were slow to build but had depth. What was your writing plan when creating these characters?
The characters within Seed Me are pulled from my own experiences of living in Edmonton. A lot of them being mashups of numerous personalities of people I know to create their unique persona. My Mental Damnation series has a lot of characters that serve a single function in the story. With Seed Me I wanted to strip away as many characters as possible and really see how deep I could go with their personas.
An example of that would be Janet’s passion for renewable energy and her father’s work in the oil industry. This brief backstory reveals conflict within her personal life, explaining some of her choices in the story.
There is a mysterious group of people called Harvesters that may or may not be behind the murders in town. How did you set about creating this group and did you accomplish everything you wanted?
The Harvesters went through MANY revamps. Much like the plants in the story, I researched to help define who the Harvesters were. Originally they were a group from eastern Asia, since these cultures have a vast history of working with plants and using them as medicine. However, after reading about the history of Edmonton and Alberta, I learned that many of the first settlers were from Europe. Settlers from Asia came to Alberta much later. With this new knowledge I had to restructure the Harvesters’ origins. Ultimately it worked better than the original concept: druids are well known in pop culture for having strong ties to nature which supported the plants.
I would say that the Harvesters accomplished what I wanted. The reader is given enough information to know what their goals are and where they are from, while how they came to be and their inner workings remains mysterious. There’s a lot more that could be told about them, perhaps this will be revealed in a sequel.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be available?
Currently I am working on the Mental Damnation series again. The story hasn’t been completed and I would love to give a conclusion for the readers. I have a lot more to share regarding this in the coming months. Keep watch for early 2017 for this next novel.
One thing I’d also like to add is that Seed Me’s release was accompanied by a musical score. Some of the tracks were written by me and others by local musicians in Edmonton who based their songs on various chapters found within the novel. The 10 track album encompasses the whole story of Seed Me through dark ambient music.
You can stream the album for free on Bandcamp
If you’re reading this, then you did not take the above warning seriously. In that case, you’re probably as stupid as me. I’m Logan, by the way. I didn’t pay attention to any warning signs either. Being an unemployed deadbeat in Edmonton with no family and getting dumped by your girlfriend for her best friend can wear a guy down. All I had was my cokehead buddy, Skip, to cheer me up.
Surprisingly, my precautionary tale was not caused by either Skip or the drugs. Let’s just say a drunken make-out session with a pale girl by a dumpster, who was supposedly pronounced dead earlier in the evening, can leave you mentally jumbled up. A good motivator to figure this scenario out is having robed cultists stalk you, asking where the girl is.
Is this an ill twist of fate? Did I bring this on myself? Is there a reason behind my misfortune? Is the moral to not make out with spooky girls behind dumpsters? Hell if I know…
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Book 3 in the Dreadnought Collective series returns to the home of Terry and Sandra Tumbler. Terry and his wife plan a return holiday to Turkey, recalling their last visit with their grandson, Seb, when his tour group from the Sombrella Syndicate got into trouble in the underground city of Derinkuyu. They’d like to go again to see it at their leisure. Terry invites several couples who had accompanied them on an earlier visit to Santiago. Since they’d had trouble on that particular tip, Terry sweetens the deal by booking a luxury version of fast-travel flying cars, colloquially known as “potties,” to speed them on their way.
On arrival in Istanbul, the five couples embark on a grand tour of historic sites on a large coach, shared by a group of Spanish tourists. During their travels, Terry meets with a mysterious man named Marius. Marius asks Terry for help regarding Alien visitations, and Terry is delighted. His love of researching UFO phenomena may help save lives, and Marius may be able to explain the odd dreams Terry is having. When the tour visits the ancient hospital of Asklepion, the true nature of the “Magic Carpet” tour coach (dubbed the Turkish Floater by Wilf) is revealed, and the travelers slip back in time to witness ancient Rome in person. This leads to uncovering the mystery of the aliens who have been living under the auspices of the Sombrella Syndicate, and a threat to earth.
If you can’t tell by the irreverent names of the vehicles, this is a very funny book. The Time Slipsters is a delightfully fun read. It crosses genre borders as easily as the Magic Carpet crosses timelines. The story spans science fiction, travelogue, historical fiction and comedy while showing a vibrant world of the future and the past. Terry is a loveable rogue, and his gaffes are both funny and important to the story. Laughing at phallic rock formations and obsessing over bathroom facilities in ancient buildings could be jokes, but they may come in handy later.
But the trip is not all fun and games. When the ship begins to slip between time zones, the travelers are under very explicit orders to stay away from the locals. One of them foolishly ignores that advice, and like any time travel story, what you do in the past can have a ripple effect into the future.
The author’s imagination is truly fantastic. Even the little details of this future world are well fleshed out. There’s the concept of Democracy on Demand that allows people to guide their government by instantaneous voting. And sure, the flying cars are neat, but what about smart suitcases that carry themselves to and from your hotel, or having delicate surgery performed by nanobots while you sleep? I can’t start on the alien technology without spoilers, so you’ll have to read for yourself.
One thing I liked was the occasional break in the intrigue so I could wander the streets of ancient monuments along with the characters. It’s clear the author has visited these places and wants to share these remarkable places and their histories with others.
Though Seb Cage Begins His Adventures was a book aimed at young readers, The Time Slipsters is decidedly more adult. The adult humor and a few sexual references, though never explicit, wouldn’t be appropriate for a young reader. If you like SF, time travel stories, or dry British humor, you’ll like this book.
Pages: 291 | ASIN: B018MLKT7M
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Book 1 of the Dreadnought Collective series begins in Spain, where Sebastian Cage and his younger brother Bart arrive to spend the summer with their grandparents. Terry and Sandra Tumbler have plenty for them to do, with sporting activities and swimming to keep the boys active and burn off their boundless energy. Despite this, the rivalry between the brothers starts to fray their grandparents’ nerves, so Terry devises a plan. He enlists thirteen-year-old Sebastian as his research assistant for a secret project. Terry has noticed a larger-than-average number of little people in his town and is convinced they are aliens.
Seb’s intelligence and tenacity are put to good use. Seb and Terry’s set out to observe and follow people under five feet tall as they move about town. The pair’s activities are noticed, and a man named Skip approaches Seb and Terry and confirms their suspicions. Skip and his organization – the Sombrella Syndicate – aren’t hostile at all. He invites Seb to join their summer campus to learn special skills and advanced technology. Terry is skeptical, but he can further his research than getting the information straight from the source, even if he has to get the data by tricking his grandson.
Seb Cage is intended for middle-grade readers and offers a fantastic, “what I did on my summer vacation” adventure story. Seb must cope with discovering and controlling abilities he never knew he had, making friends with his fellow students and focusing on his education. He must also work in tandem with his partner Maisie, and develops a crush on her.
His uncertainty and awkwardness over Maisie, coupled with constant teasing from his younger brother, makes it easy to sympathize with Seb. He faces some issues that tween and teen readers will be familiar with. He’s essentially joining a new school and is soon surrounded by a group of young people his own age who come from all over Europe. He must learn to deal with embarrassment, mistakes, and successes, as well as bond with his classmates and learn from mentors who are very different from any teacher he’s had before.
The humor in the book is delightful, with a distinctly British feel. Some of it is word-play, with funny scenes (mostly involving Seb’s grandfather, Terry) that range from misunderstandings and mishaps to literal bathroom humor. Since the students and mentors are telepathically linked, the occasional stray thought slips through to hilarious effect. This kind of comedy plays through the whole story, keeping the mood light and the story moving.
The students visit real historical sites, and the descriptions of these monuments, battlefields, and triumphs of ancient engineering are wonderful. The author provides an appendix of links to some of these fantastic places that inspired the story.
Seb Cage Begins His Adventure is well-suited to readers from 9-14. It’s full of adventure, science fiction, and fantasy and will also appeal to youth who enjoy sports and exploration. The novel features strong themes of friendship, discovery, and learning to care for others and the planet Earth as well.
Pages: 382 | ASIN: B00VVCVNYI
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