Imported from Australia, this volume kicks off a series chronicling how one young man deals with a highly unusual family legacy that goes back generations.
Dom Silvagni is living the good life in an upscale suburb. His passion is middle-distance running, and training takes up most of his time. What’s left he devotes to his friend Imogen, a neighbor girl who is smart, beautiful, and practically smothered by her overprotective mother. Everything changes on his 15th birthday, when his father and grandfather tell him of the legacy left the family by his ancestor, who welched on a debt owed to the ’Ndrangheta (“like the Mafia, but not as nice”). Now all male Silvagnis must contribute to its repayment by accomplishing six different tasks. Dom can’t share the responsibility or ask for help, and only The Debt knows what the tasks will be. The penalty for not finishing the tasks? The Debt takes a pound of his flesh—literally. His first task is to capture the Zolt, a teenage Robin Hood with a huge Internet fan base, and the task is not only difficult, it threatens Imogen’s safety. The adventure gets off to a rather confusing start, the complicated, unlikely setup posing significant suspension-of-disbelief challenges. Still, there’s something undeniably intriguing about the storyline, and Dom is a likable protagonist.
Readers won over by Dom will hope the next installment brings some clarity to the over-the-top plot. (Adventure. 10-14)