Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Phillip Reeve
Illustrated by David Wyatt
Bloomsbury, 2007

In an alternate Victorian age where the British Empire stretches from cloudy Venus to the moons of Jupiter, young Art Mumby finds himself embroiled in one interplanetary adventure after another. His previous encounter (recorded in the volume Larklight) with an ancient race of giant spiders bent on dominating the solar system turned out remarkably well, thanks to Art's quick thinking, the bold deeds of his rakish pirate-captain friend Jack and his alien crew, and, surprisingly, Art's intolerably properly prudish sister Myrtle, who shocks everyone, including herself, by ultimately saving the day (a deplorably unladylike thing to do - she swears never to repeat it).

But now Art and his allies face an even greater threat. An unexpected invitation to a recently opened sea-bathing resort in the asteroid field draws Art along with his mother and sister into a tangled plot of stolen time machines, poisonings, espionage, and brain-wave sucking hats. More jolly characters join the cast, as well as killer maniacal sea-side amusement machines, and most of our old friends from the previous volume make an appearance as well, even though some of them, sadly, spend most of the book having been turned into trees. Anyone who loves a good yarn will want to join this journey to the very cold, dark end of time to save the good old nineteenth century (huzzah!) from dismal destruction. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

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