Tonally reminiscent of Robert A. Heinlein’s classic science fiction adventures for young readers (Space Cadet, Red Planet, Starman Jones, etc.), Baker’s debut features a heroic 13-year-old boy named Archimedes (or “Archie”) whose mission is nothing short of saving the Interplanetary Federation from a mysterious terrorist menace that threatens to destroy the political stability of the multiple-planet alliance.
When Archie’s father, the head of security for the Federation, confides in him that the numerous terrorist attacks throughout the alliance are all potentially linked to a prestigious institution named SAGE (the School of Advanced Galactic Education) located on Earth’s moon, the teenaged boy is intrigued. But when his father informs him that he will be attending the school on an undercover mission to identify the perpetrator, he is thrilled—and more than a little scared. Leaving his home planet of Concordia and traveling to the moon with two of his friends is an adventure in and of itself, but as soon the trio arrives at SAGE, they realize something is very wrong. After Archie barely escapes serious injury in a freak accident in his dorm room and he and his friends are almost killed when a project involving the construction of a lunar buggy is sabotaged, Archie begins to suspect the school’s egomaniacal leader, Primapedagog, as the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks. But even with this knowledge, how can one boy stop an anarchical plot that has already been set in motion? An overly simplified (and perhaps overly optimistic) storyline with decidedly soft scientific and social speculation is compensated for by a briskly paced narrative and an abundance of fantastical action and adventure featuring a race of subterranean moon dwellers and time travel.
Young readers who enjoy science-fiction adventures à la Heinlein’s juveniles will find this novel to be an entertaining albeit somewhat predictable read.