A Smart, Rip-Roaring Adventure
The Forbidden Stone
by Tony Abbott
Series: The Copernicus Legacy (Book 1 of 6)
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Starred Reviews: Kirkus
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A secret past can destroy the future.
It all begins when Wade Kaplan receives a strange, coded email from his uncle Henry, shortly before the old man’s sudden and suspicious death. He sets off for Germany to attend the funeral with his father, Roald, and his three friends Darrell, Lily, and Becca, only to discover that Uncle Henry left them yet another baffling message that they suspect is the key to figuring out how and why he died.
The message leads to a clue, which sends them to a dark and creepy family tomb. The more clues they discover, the farther they travel down a treacherous path toward an ancient, guarded secret. Soon, they are in a breathless race across the globe, running for their lives as a ruthless shadow organization chases them around every corner. Their only hope of saving themselves—and the world that they know—is to find twelve magical relics from a hidden past that will unlock the Copernicus Legacy.
Imagine discovering that the ancient celestial map you’ve always prized was the first piece of a worldwide treasure hunt and an adventure of a lifetime. Sounds like some kind of dream, right? For Wade, it’s real. He goes from watching meteors to jumping on planes and trains, traversing tunnels, searching tombs, and more — all while trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys!
Stars are like, messages from way out there to us down here. If only we could read the code….
Readers of Rick Riordan, The 39 Clues, and Pendragon will love this series. Similar to Peter Lerangis’ Seven Wonders series, The Copernicus Legacy feels less fantasy-oriented, though the groundwork is laid for some sci-fi elements. The characters are just regular kids (even if two of them are super smart). In addition to the clues and codes, the story incorporates science, math, and history in a way that doesn’t distract from the immediacy of the action or feel like info-dumping. Though the narrative is driven more by plot than character, the cast is well-drawn. Unlike Seven Wonders where I struggled to remember and distinguish the motley crew, I had no problems with Wade, his step-brother Darrell, cousin Lily, and her smart sidekick Becca.
One aspect of the novel that I particularly enjoyed is the fact that the family relationships are healthy. The step-brothers get along and care about one another, and the kids love their parents. In fact, the importance of family is a thematic focus.
In addition to a solid hero, any good adventure tale is in need of a menacing bad guy. In this case, the bad guy is a worthy and fascinating villainess! As far as heroes go, Abbott manages to quickly connect his reader to the Kaplan family. The kids, a mixture of smart, tech-savvy, bookish, and athletic, should, as a whole, function like a sort of everyman to the reader. I expect different kids will identify with different characters. This should translate into good sales for the series, which is projected to be twelve volumes: six books and six novellas (one for each relic). The novellas will function as diary entries from varying perspectives giving the author a chance to further develop his characters. The first novella, Wade and the Scorpion’s Claw, comes out in September, and the second hardback installment, The Serpent’s Curse, follows in October.
I thoroughly enjoyed tagging along with Wade and the rest of the gang on this globe-trotting adventure!
— Dawn Teresa
4 of 5 Hearts. A Smart, Rip-Roaring Adventure.
The Forbidden Stone is well-paced and engaging. You are immediately embroiled in mystery and intrigue, and before you know it, will be whisked away on an epic journey!
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