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Author: Lisa Smedman

Illustrator: James Beveridge, cover

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Tesseract Books,

Material: paperback

Summary: It's 1884 in the Canadian Northwest. Corporal Marmeduke Grayburn is the lead investigator in a case where it seems the Indian Chiefs are using magical powers to bring back the buffalo herds of old and rid the area of white settlers. This is a science fiction novel that blends history and paranormal phenomena.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 12 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Age of Child: read with 9-year-old child

Young Reader Reaction: This is definitely for older kids. Some of the material was a bit scary for my well-read nine-year-old boy.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is science fiction on the great plains. Although there are elements that capture the reader's attention, the story is bogged down with sidebars and parenthetical notes. Fewer twists and turns of plot would not diminish the story one iota.

Pros: Once engaged, the reader will find the book hard to put down. The new technology (circa 1884) the Mounties use is imaginative. Likewise, the paranormal phenomena used by the Indian Chiefs are likewise intriguing and make the story work.

Cons: The story is too long. There are too many parenthetical notes/comments that distract the reader.

Borrow or Buy: This could go either way. It is a book that you might by for a 12-14 year old who is into sci/fi adventure. It's a beach read, not a literary masterpiece. Otherwise, borrow from the library. It's a fun read.

If You Liked This Book, Try: The Right Hand of Velachaz, Merlin's Kin and Galahad 1: The Comet's Curse THE RIGHT HAND OF VELACHAZ   MERLIN's KIN   GALAHAD 1: THE COMET'S CURSE

Educational Themes: The story, by itself, is a series of paranormal adventures, encouraging kids to 'stretch' that imagination. There is history to learn in the plight of the Indian tribes in the Northwest and the failure of the government to honor commitments made to the tribes.

Notes: 8/05-Sent to Lack

Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, historical fiction, young adult, science fiction

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2005

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