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HACKING TIMBUKTU by Stephen Davies


by Stephen Davies

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-547-39016-1
Publisher: Clarion

In 14th-century Timbuktu, university student Akonio Dolo heists Mansa Musa’s gold, but he leaves a clue hinting at its secret location before plunging to his death. This Dan Brown–esque thriller picks up in modern-day Mali, where Moktar Hasim, after scanning a magic square for the Timbuktu Manuscripts Project, identifies and steals the key to the missing gold. In London, a treasure hunter and Knight of Akonio Dolo tries to enlist Danny Temple, a 16-year-old who quit school to do freelance IT, to hack Timbuktu and retrieve the key. He rejects the job but, along with his best friend, Omar, Danny joins the chase, employing his hacking skills and parkour moves (a physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route and use such skills as jumping and climbing to negotiate objects in their environment) to travel to the Dogon region of Mali, evade stereotyped villains and locate the hidden gold. Although the story is often clichéd, Danny’s hacking-and-parkour comparisons (both involve exploration and special techniques, for instance) and the rarely covered Mali will entice reluctant readers. (author’s note) (Thriller. YA)