Saturday, January 12, 2008

Martin Booth

Doctor Illuminatus
by Martin Booth
Recommended Age: 12+

Pip and Tim are a present-day sister and brother who have just moved into an old, old house in the English countryside. Sebastian is a boy their age from the 1400s, who wakes from a centuries-long slumber to fight against an evil alchemist. Somehow, without upsetting Pip and Tim’s parents, the three children must prevent a vile sorcerer named de Loudéac from creating a living being out of dead matter – a servant of evil who will do the Evil One’s bidding.

In a weird, creepy adventure that combines modern technology and science with the mystical secrets of medieval alchemy, the friends travel through time, enter magically protected spaces, change their shapes, and brew protective potions. All this is to carry on the fight of good against evil, fighting an enemy who can assume many forms and whose very voice has the power to kill. The children race against time, and fight against terrifying dangers, to discover de Loudéac’s plans and his headquarters before it is too late, before a great power of wickedness is unleashed on the world.

If there is one fault in this story, it is that it is over too quickly. I am even tempted to say that Mr. Booth’s narrative moves too fast, or at least it wouldn’t have hurt to give the characters more space to be themselves and for their relationships to grow. However, this quibble may be wiped away by “Part II,” titled Soul Stealer, in which the adventures of Pip, Tim, and Sebastian continue.

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