James R. Hannibal presents a thrilling adventure through history, complete with mysteries, secret items, codes, and a touch of magic, in this stunning middle grade debut.
Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.
But Jack's father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries - and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack's inheritance.
Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?
©2016 James R. Hannibal. All rights reserved. (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
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"New Twist on a Hyper Observant Detective"
The action in this story starts with the first sentence and keeps going to the end, with lots of learning along the way.
I'm befuddled by the reviews calling this too similar to Harry Potter. The British setting (a place where government agencies are called "ministries") is the only similarity. The story takes place in a matter of two days or less, rather than an entire school year. The boy is not an orphan. He has loving parents. And he turns a neurological struggle to his advantage to save his dad, rather than relying on unexplained magic. Science abounds. And a real historical mystery is solved. Is it as entertaining as HP? Sure, but it bears little similarity. Now that I write this, I realize the story is much closer to Sherlock Holmes, with a new twist on hyper-observation and a super-cool 12-year-old girl Watson.
I love the scene in the ancient submarine transport. But no spoilers.
A new take on a young Sherlock with a quirky female Watson, complete with hidden worlds, secret societies, and long awaited mysteries.
"A clever and enjoyable story, but the similarities to Harry Potter were too numerous"
I love basing a story on the lost property office, a long-standing tradition in London, and the author does a great job of creating some very clever storylines. However, I couldn't help but be reminded on many occasions of similar magical fundamentals in the Harry Potter series. For example, the world has a ministry; the protagonist is a boy who has no idea of the world he should be inhabiting; he comes to rely on a highly intelligent female companion who keeps him from getting into more trouble through his need to prove himself and loyalty driven decision-making. The list goes on and could be an interesting--or maddening – comparison for a Harry Potter fan, but the overall story makes for a very enjoyable listen. Would make a good family road trip story.
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