Recruited to MI18, a top-secret British agency that employs children to gather intelligence, six preteens use their minds over high-tech gadgets to fight crime in this imported debut.
Thirty years ago, the Myers Holt Academy, an elite and secret boarding school that housed the MI18, closed when one of its students, Anna Willows, was kidnapped and presumed dead. Very much alive, plotting revenge and now known as Dulcia Genever, she, along with her adopted twin sons, has been incapacitating the students and faculty that never came to rescue her. The academy is reopened when one of those former students—the current prime minister—appears to be next on the hit list. Following a confusing transition from prologue to story, the novel centers on 12-year-old Christopher Lane, whose father died seven years ago and whose mother has been a recluse ever since. Chris and his stereotypical mix of cohorts (the overweight bully, the foreigner with broken English, etc.) train to develop their Ability, using their brains to their full capacity, as they practice telekinesis and mind reading and prepare to protect the prime minister at the annual Antarctic Ball for children. This training proves to be more interesting than the concluding fight against villainous Genever and her twins.
Chris’ unresolved home life and an equally open-ended, anticlimactic ending suggest a sequel; readers not yet burned out on paranormal boarding schools may look forward to it. (Fantasy. 8-12)