Kirkus Reviews O’Neill “an Ian Fleming for the middle grade set” !!

Kirkus Review:

In this fourth volume of an adventure series, a resourceful Moroccan
orphan named Tariq and his loyal friends set out to return an ancient diary
to its rightful home.
It’s 1914. Readers last saw intrepid cohorts Tariq, Fez, and Aseem
stranded in the ocean after their hot air balloon crashed. Their friend
Melbourne Jack died in the accident, but not before making Tariq promise
to return a valuable artifact—Alexander the Great’s diary—to a circus in
India led by Jack’s mentor, Foster Crowe. Fortunately, the boys are
rescued by a band of sea Gypsies, led by the charming Capt. Scopas.
Scopas desires revenge against Abdullah Ozek, an evil gangster in
Constantinople, and asks the trio to help him. Along the way, the boys
befriend a young woman named Pakize, a talented thief who steals to help
her struggling neighborhood make ends meet, and discover that Ozek runs
an illegal exotic animal trade. Meanwhile, English schoolgirl Margaret
Owens sets out to rescue her classmate Inez from the German soldiers
who captured her. Together, the girls must race through the Black Forest
to France before the determined Maj. Lars Hostetler can catch them. And
Foster follows the sinister Wu Chiang to Europe to stop him from using
the power of the Red Hand Scrolls to start a world war. O’Neill (Legends
of the Rif, 2015, etc.), an Ian Fleming for the middle-grade set, manages to
smoothly jump among his groups of characters and their various
escapades around the world—from Constantinople to Kathmandu,
Bremen to Sarajevo—without leaving the reader confused about where
each storyline left off. The narrative delivers rich cultural details,
including vivid descriptions of delicious food and exotic locales
(“Constantinople presented herself in full glory to the three boys. Her
buildings were cast in a golden hue….On the hillside of the city, seven
humongous and beautiful mosques, each with long and narrow towers
called minarets, glowed in the morning sunshine”). Readers should feel as
though they too are traversing the globe every time they fall back into this
fast-paced tale. The pages will likely fly by far too quickly for the series’
loyal fans, who will be left waiting eagerly for the next installment. A
warning: several moments of graphic violence might be too much for
more squeamish young readers.
A satisfying, action-packed return to the world of the Red Hand and a
daring trio.

Kirkus Reviews Issue:
Jan. 15th, 2017