FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire
ABOUT THE BOOK
Mars in 1816 is a world of high society, deadly danger, and strange clockwork machines.
Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan wants to become a spy like the ones he reads about in his favorite magazine, Thrilling Martian Tales, but he’s far too busy keeping his eccentric family from disaster. All of that is about to change. In the north, great dragon tombs hide marvels of Ancient Martian technology, and the villainous archaeologist Sir Titus Dane is determined to loot one.
When Sir Titus kidnaps Edward’s parents, Edward, his sisters, and their mysterious cousin set off in pursuit across the Martian wilderness. Together they must battle Sir Titus’s minions, dodge hungry pterodactyls, and escape fearsome Martian hunting machines in order to rescue Edward’s parents and uncover the secrets of the dragon tomb.
Edward feels very protective towards his family. His father's genius doesn't make him very practical and he seems disappointed that Edward doesn't have his knack with machines. Plus, Edward's mother and older sister Jane are obsessed with society and getting Jane married. Edward's other sisters, Olivia and Parthenia, have their own idiosyncrasies. When 'cousin' Freddie shows up with a crash (literally), Edward immediately suspects that something else is going on. Living on British Mars during the years of Britain's conflict with Frances, Napoleon, Edward really wants to be a spy, but thinks his family needs him more. Things take a turn for the worse after Freddie's arrival, when Freddie's parents and older sister are abducted. Edward, Olivia, and Parthenia (Putty) set off with Freddie to rescue their family, but things only go downhill from there.
The action-packed nature of the plot made for an exciting read that I had a hard time putting down. Admittedly it took a good chunk of the book before I started to understand the 'mechanics' of this steampunk version of Mars. But once I let myself believe the fantasy aspects of the story (dragon paths and dragon tombs), I thoroughly enjoyed following Edward on his travels and through his troubles. Edward and his sister Putty were my favorite characters offering both practicality (Edward) and genius (Putty takes after her father). The story felt fresh enough to be thoroughly engaging and a lot of fun for young readers who are steampunk fans. I am definitely looking forward to reading the coming sequel which is sure to involve Edward and Putty getting into even more trouble. ;)