After their latest adventure (What's that? You need a reminder? Just check back to Friday's post, or click here...), Nate and Aunt Phil return home to an unexpected surprise....someone's been in their house! Well, perhaps in is not the right word here, more like ransacked! Cornelius (the dodo bird that lives at Aunt Phil's) only escaped the intruder because he had been knocked out in the initial scuffle and the baddies thought he was stuffed. When asked who they were, he reveals the blackguard's face looked like....Philomena (Aunt Phil)! GASP! But, wait a minute...how can THAT be? She was with Nate solving the mystery of the Basilisk escape.... *ponders*
Oh no! It looks like one of the descendants (Obediah) of the eighth Fludd son (Octavious), the black sheep of the family as it were, is back and looking for quite more than a family reunion. As if this wasn't enough to take in, news travels to this world weary pair that the wyverns are rampaging near Wales...a situation that needs their IMMEDIATE attention! What to do, what to do...but staying true to their family occupation of sorts they go where they must. Wales, ahoy! What will they find waiting for them in this new destination? What on earth ARE wyverns and why would they rampage? Strap in tight and be prepared for a bumpy ride as the Fludd Beastologists are on the case....
This book reacquaints us, even if ever so briefly, with Cornelius the *ahem* "lovable" Dodo and housekeeper of sorts to Aunt Phil and freshly introduces new characters that will obviously play a vital role in upcoming stories. Without spoiling it for you....we learn the true identity of the "mysterious man" that's been trying to abscond with the 'Fludd Book of Beasts' as well as a few good speculations as to why he is in hot pursuit. The one question that is sadly alluded to but not ever really answered (at least not with concrete evidence as of yet...which leaves room for hope even if ever so small) is whether Nate's parents are really and truly gone or just merely being held captive by baddies we've yet to discover. Either way, Nate is shaping up to be quite a marvelous young man. He's brave and stout of heart, not afraid to do what's right despite the consequences and a marvelous reader of those in his care (aka the beastie friendlies...and non....that are in his charge). There is a lovely example of this towards books end, but alas, to reveal it would spoil it for you...let's just say that he makes a few final decisions based on something he recognizes within himself that is reflected in another. (Confused? Hope not...but that's the most I can say while giving away the least!)
A few more things to love about this book...the author once again employs her unique ability to intertwine a fascinating story with lessons to be learned throughout. You learn of Pavlov's experiments (you know, the dog and the bell and the behavior association...) as something similar is utilized within the book. A fascinating spin on where geodes come from is also introduced although the truth of that matter may be more fiction than fact (it is fun to imagine though!). The illustrations are once again a central feature that not only keep the book moving forward but allow for a little visual play time as well. Check out the chapter headers....you'll see what I mean...definite props to the illustrator. Lastly, I love how close the stories in the series fall in regards to the time line. Books one through three cover a mere two weeks in the storyline....an unspoken promise of many adventures yet to come. Good! I hate saying goodbye (even if it's just until the next re-read) to characters I love....
This book was scheduled to hit shelves everywhere today (10/04/10), so be on the look out at your favorite store or online retailer. ALSO, special fun fact to note...the FOURTH book in the series, The Unicorn's Tale already has a listed release date as well (as of this post, 04/04/11) so once you finish this fun chapter, it won't be TOO much longer til you get to set out on your next adventure with Nate and Aunt Phil....I know my calendar's marked! I mean not only is it in a series I've so far enjoyed immensely, it deals with UNICORNS (educated guess from the cover...see it over there --> ) which I've always loved!
ARC for review read via NetGalley. (THANKS!) To take a look at their current catalog of new and upcoming reads, visit them online or follow along on Twitter. To find out more about the author, her website and Twitter feed are prime for the reading. Last but not least, the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and their extensive catalog of books are accessible via their website or...guess where? Yep, Twitter!
Until next time...happy reading!