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ERUPTION by Roland Smith


From the Storm Runners series, volume 3

by Roland Smith

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-08174-0
Publisher: Scholastic

The third and concluding volume in Smith’s breakneck Storm Runners trilogy shifts the scene from a circus’ devastated winter quarters in hurricane-wracked Florida to the ominously active Mexican volcano Popocatepetl.

As in the previous episode, Surge (2011), the action picks up with minimal recapping. Hardly has Hurricane Emily blown through than worrisome news that all contact has been lost with the Rossi Brothers’ Circus, on tour near Mexico City, in the wake of a major earthquake. This sends a crew headed by catastrophe experts Chase and his father John to the rescue. Smith immediately scatters his party over Popocatepetl’s shaking, landslide ridden slopes amid clouds of ash to discover human corpses, dead elephants and big cats, desperados, trapped refugees, dozens of badly injured villagers and (just to crank the suspense up another notch) an escaped tiger. Though the SEAL airlift that John eventually calls up to get everyone out of their various pickles is unalloyed deus-ex-machina (and can you say “international incident?”), at least it provides a tidy getaway to go with the resolution of several personal side plots.

A wild, roller coaster ride despite the credibility-stretching ending. (Adventure. 11-13)