The debut of an action-adventure series that ties in with the popular “Assassin’s Creed” video games.
Monroe, the information technology guy at Owen’s high school, runs an unusual operation: his Animus console allows users to enter simulations to explore genetic memories. For the 15-year-old white boy, this means he might be able to uncover the truth about his father. He doesn’t believe what his grandparents say about his father: that he had a gambling addiction, robbed a store, shot a guard. Owen feels his father was framed by friends, and that landed him in prison. That thread of the story proves to be a dead end, left to future installments, but in a simulation that sends Owen and others to New York City during the 1863 draft riots, Owen and companions finds themselves caught in the middle of an ancient rivalry between two factions, the Templar Order and the Assassins Brotherhood. Amid the fast-paced action and historical drama, they uncover an ancient relic, a Piece of Eden, with tremendous power. The fascinating, free-wheeling blend of science, history, and action-adventure will make this a sure hit, even for those who haven’t played the video games. The consciously diverse cast includes, in addition to Owen, a Latino, an African-American brother and sister, a Central Asian girl, and a white boy in a wheelchair.
Readers will be anxious for the second installment, soon to follow. (Science fiction. 11-16)