Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The 7 Professors of the Far North
The 7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell, 2005
Young Sam Carnabie is staying Professor Ampersand and his great niece and nephew, Zara and Ben for a few weeks while his parents attend a conference. Professor Ampersand's home is filled with crazy Rube Goldberg inventions and "labor saving" devices.
Late one night an old friend of the professor's arrives, exhausted and fearful with news that an old enemy has returned. In the course of the evening, Professor Ampersand tells the children about an earlier part of his life when he and six other professors founded a university on Nordbergen , a remote island in the far North, only to be betrayed by one of them. Roderick Murdo was discovered to have kidnapped a baby for some ghastly genetic experiment. The baby was saved but Murdo left the professors to die in the wilderness of the Arctic and disappeared.
Ampersand summons the other professors to let them know that their nemesis has returned to Nordbergen. As they plan how to thwart him again, Murdo's goons arrive and kidnap the professors. The children are left to follow the few clues they have in order to rescue them and save the world.
A secret subterranean railroad (very cool,) snowmobiles, and submarines convey the kids to Nordbergen. Murdo is a "James Bond" style villian whose human shaped high rise headquarters is a super complex of high tech gadgetry and evil.
The kids must figure things out but they are helped by adults along the way.
I liked the small detailed b&w drawings that are sprinkled throughout the text. Fardell is also a cartoonist. The book had an old-fashioned feel that got better as the story progressed and the action ramped up. I will be interested to see how kids go for it.
Fardell lives in Scotland with his family.
(I seem to be on a Scotland trek these days.)
Posted by Camille at 9:56 AM