By G.P. Taylor
Published by Faber and Faber
ISBN 978 0 571 22700 6
By John Millen
When he was 15 years old, Mariah Mundi left the Colonial School for orphans. The school governors found him a job as a magician's assistant at the Prince Regent, a gigantic luxury hotel perched on a cliff top in a seaside town in the north of England. Here Mariah met the enigmatic Captain Jack Charity who worked for the shadowy Bureau of Antiquities.
Captain Jack and Mariah get caught up in the spine-tingling secrets of the Prince Regent in G.P. Taylor's best-selling The Midas Box and The Ghost Diamonds. Master Mundi is a fictional teen hero who doesn't fit into the identikit Harry Potter mould, and the first two books were refreshingly different for readers swamped with tales of wizards and magic.
In The Ship of Fools, Captain Jack and Mariah are sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on board the luxury liner, The Triton. The Prince Regent Hotel has been left far behind, but The Triton, with its endless corridors and dark corners, is a brilliant substitute for the spooky hotel. The Prince Regent was a character in its own right, and in this new adventure, Taylor pulls the same clever trick of making the setting as important as the characters and the story.
Captain Jack and Mariah are not onboard The Triton for rest and relaxation. The ship is taking part in a race across the Atlantic, and Captain Jack is there in his official capacity as an agent of the Bureau of Antiquities to guard the vast hoard of gold on board.
To his horror, Mariah discovers a killer is stalking him. But that's not the only danger. Mariah and the captain soon uncover a plot to blow up The Triton. With a bomb on board, a heap of eccentric characters that could be killers, tigers, and a ventriloquist's dummy with a life of its own, could this be Mariah's final adventure?
The pace of Taylor's new novel never lets up and there is a sense of danger on almost every page. There is everything here for fans of Victorian adventure mysteries: secret plots, ticking bombs, mysterious heroines, explosions, and a rich setting. As in the previous books, Taylor gives his characters over-the-top names, gets them into tight corners and litters the plot with cliff-hangers and red herrings.
Mariah Mundi and the Ship of Fools is a glorious read stuffed full of excitement. Mariah is the product of an imagination working at top gear, and this latest adventure keeps up the high standard set by the first two. Enjoy.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com