July 1, 2014

The Lost Kingdom - by Matthew Kirby

Imagine travelling back to the mid-1700 American colonies, and preparing for the adventure of a lifetime into the uncharted western wilderness.  Now imagine that your journey is organized by Ben Franklin, with the goal of connecting with a long-lost colony to aid in the fight against the French. Let's make this even cooler: You're travelling by air using ridiculously cutting-edge technology, in the first airship in history.

This exciting story combines a real period of history and actual people from that time with a fictional (in some ways fantastical) plot.  Enjoy the story, connect it to some history and names that you've heard of (including George Washington), but don't believe a word of it.  Here's your introduction to a new genre: Alternate History.

The main character is teenage Billy Bartram, who tells the tale first-person.  Billy accompanies his famous botanist father on the expedition as his sketch artist, and through Billy's eyes we experience the excitement and terror of their journey, the shock of his father's prejudice against the natives, the suspense of an unidentified spy, and the confusion that comes when a child first realizes that not all adults are trustworthy or honorable.

What an amazing book!  The characters and setting are interesting and well-scripted, and the plot is fast-paced, twisting, and captivating. Matthew Kirby has come back with another winner.

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