Age Range: 12 - 14
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An amateurish James Bond–style shoot-’em-up that would leave even Ian Fleming running for cover.

Reb Barnett is your basic stuntman/art-history guy. It’s a good thing he’s had lots of training in Sherlock Holmes, Leonardo da Vinci, karate, and firearms, because he’s going to need all of it for the mission that fate has in store for him. In 1491, when Leonardo wasn’t inventing everything we now take for granted, he stumbled upon an alloy so strong and lightweight it was obvious that it would be used for nefarious international military affairs even before the New World was discovered. Naturally, Leonardo made a dagger out of it, hid it, and created a puzzle so complicated that only some future traveler with good in his heart would be able to find it. The pieces of the puzzle floated about for half a millennium, and little Reb’s parents were murdered for the myth. Big mistake. Little Reb—that suggests “rebel,” don’t you know—grows into Big Reb, who is empty of soul and cries a lot, but who also has kickass written all over him. Reb needs a female counterpart to make him complete—ah, here she comes—and now he is fully prepared to battle the insidious arms dealers who will use the alloy to create smart stealth bombs that can be dropped from space. Don’t ask how. West first hit the New York Times bestseller list in 1999 with First Person Plural, an account of his DID condition—multiple personalities. We seem to be experiencing a less interesting one this time around. Or maybe not: our simplistic story nevertheless required collaboration with someone named Seamus Slattery. It’s enough to make you wonder whether West—not his real name; and don’t feel sorry for him: Tom Cruise has already bought the story—isn’t being exploited.

Bodies galore. For ages 12–14.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 2001
ISBN: 0-7434-2035-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2001