THE EL DORADO ADVENTURE by Lloyd Alexander

THE EL DORADO ADVENTURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The heroine of last year's Illyrian Adventure returns for another series of hairbreadth escapes. Vesper Holly seems to be children's literature's answer to Indiana Jones: as such, she succeeds pretty well. Vesper and her amiable but bumbling narrator-guardian, Professor Brinton Garrett (Brinnie), receive a summons to the Central American country of El Dorado to see some territory, including a volcano, which turns out to belong to Vesper. They are welcomed but then imprisoned by de Rochefort, who is attempting to build a Panama-like canal (it's 1870), first exterminating the indigenous Chiricas. Escaping, Vesper and Brinnie fall in with the Chiricas, discovering that their chief, Acharro, is half Irish and Cambridge-educated. Illyria's arch-villian, Helvetius, turns up as the mastermind of the canal scheme and plays an extended game of cat-and-mouse, the irrepressible Vesper engineering escapes with the intelligence and cool confidence of a Houdini, till the volcano erupts and provides an unexpected resolution. Though this is chiefly a saga of derring-do, Alexander is too good a writer not to incorporate both thoughtful and subtle touches. He's firmly on the side of the Chiricas, and also of the Chirica women who have been doing all the tribe's labor; they get the vote as well as some help from their men. Brinnie's posturing and incompetence are still funny, though they begin to be tedious. Vesper is refreshingly vigorous and omniscient. Lightweight, compared to Alexander's Westmark series, but should entertain adventure fans.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
Page count: 180pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1987




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