Take an adventure story from Jules Verne, give it a Young Adult set of characters, and toss in a pinch of Steampunk and you get something very close to Matthew J. Kirby’s The Lost Kingdom.
Bill Bartram and his father, along with scientists and members of a secret society of philosophers adventure into the American wilderness of pre-Civil War times, to find the followers of Madoc – a Welsh prince. A war with France is brewing and the Bartram’s believe that the Madoc people can help them with the coming war.
With some French soldiers on their heels, the adventurers take a flying ship to the largely-unexplored wilderness in the American west. Just as one might with Jules Verne, they encounter all sorts of terrifying, pre-historic-like creatures. Surviving the journey will be the toughest part of their adventure.
This book is just a heck of a lot of fun.
Bill Bartram is a classic ‘Everyman’ …er, ‘Everyboy‘ type of character. He’s full of spirit and wonder. Smart, but not annoyingly over intelligent – dumping information at every opportunity.
The adventure is fast and furious. There is a constant ‘out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire’ feeling, which is exactly what you want in this sort of book. Think Mike Mars, or Tom Swift, or any other pulp-age adventure series. And the adventure is three-fold: there’s the goal; there are the encounters on the way to the goal; there is the chase. There is definitely enough to keep a reader engaged. Add a little mystery with the secret society and you’ve piqued the interest.
This is my first book by Matthew J. Kirby, but I see he’s written a number of others and I look forward to reading more of his work.
Looking for a good book? The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby is a delightful adventure for YA readers, reminiscent of Jules Verne.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Lost Kingdom
author: Matthew J. Kirby
publisher: Scholastic Press
hardcover, 348 pages