When his adventure-loving parents disappear on an expedition to Borneo, an 11-year-old shut-in recruits a sidekick (actually “partner”) and sets out to the rescue.
A legend in his own mind, Ronald ostentatiously refers to himself as “Ronald Zupan” throughout. In his quest to find his missing parents (Argentine dad Francisco and white American mom Helen), the mixed-race lad sweeps up Carter, his defanged (but still prone to biting) pet cobra, a white British nanny/butler he insists on calling “Jeeves” (not his name), and fencing rival Julianne Sato, a “feisty” lass of Japanese descent, on the way to a crash-landing in the jungle. Encounters with poop-throwing orangutans and unsavory local residents ensue, along with diverse narrow squeaks aboveground and below, culminating in a brisk duel with a pirate captain on a slippery mountain of bat guano that brings the mission to a successful close. Most of these exploits, along with the corrective comments offered by “Jeeves” at each chapter’s end and the superfluous appearance of a ship and other props from a certain series of pirate movies produced by “swarthy” superstar Josh Brigand come off as labored efforts to liven up the flaccid plot by cramming in as many yuks as possible. The boastful narrator, the artifact looters who are his parents, and the rest of the stereotyped cast fall as flat as the jokes. Map and finished spot illustrations not seen.
Routine even with the swordplay and flying excrement. (Adventure. 10-12)