Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
Meet Modo a talented and misformed child being reformed by Mr. Socrates. Mr. Socrates, the rich Englishmen, rescued Modo from a carnival buggy when he was just a toddler. He was to be a prize possession and the future centerpiece for this gypsy carnival. But, for enough money - all sorts of deals can be made.
Modo is locked into a house with only a housekeeper and a Indian trainer for the next 13 years. He is not allowed to see his face or leave the premises. He is trained both mentally and physically - he can climb a rope, jump from place to place, converse on all types of subjects and discern the identity of a approaching stranger by the sounds of their footsteps.
Modo has been formed in the image of his master - but who is Modo. When he is finally shown his misshapen face, and acknowledges the horrible hump on his back he recedes into a deep depression. It is through the love of his housekeeper that he comes to accept both his limitations and his skills.
It is then that Mr. Socrates allows Modo outside... But, he takes him to London, dumps him off on a street corner and forces him to find his own way.
Now - all of that happens in the first couple of chapters...it is then the assignments really begin. London is being harassed by an unseen force that steals children and returns them as hairy raving lunatics. It is also home to a mysterious scientist who has a skill with clockwork and potions that is completely unknown to others. Modo and his new friend Octavia join forces with Mr. Socrates to try to rid the world of this mad scientist, Dr. Hyde.
This is another in the clockwork genre. The first by Arther Slade, but not the last. If you liked this one - check out Leviathan.
New book at the Middle School