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THE MAZE by Will Hobbs


by Will Hobbs

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-15092-6
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

A well-crafted, straight-up adventure story from Hobbs (Ghost Canoe, 1997, etc.). Confined to a juvenile detention center after traveling through a series of foster and group homes, Rick escapes after trying to blow the whistle on corrupt guards. His flight ends at an isolated camp on the edge of a bewildering system of canyons known as the Maze District, in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, where self-named biologist Lon Peregrino is nurturing six young condors bred in captivity. More accustomed to birds than people, Peregrino doesn’t pry into Rick’s past, allowing him instead to help keep the condors under observation while they acclimate themselves to new surroundings; he also fills Rick in on their history and behavior and, as the two become friends, teaches him to hang glide. As Rick eagerly soaks it all up, enter two rough locals, Carlile and Gunderson, with chips on their shoulders and a mean pit bull who immediately attacks and kills a condor. Lon suspects them of collecting Anasazi artifacts for the black market until Rick trails them to a cave full of pipe bombs and assault weapons. Hobbs sets the stage for a dramatic hang-glide rescue and throws in a major storm, after which the bad guys are collared and Rick is set on a more promising road. Both the breathtaking setting and the huge, rare birds are strong presences in this page-turner; Hobbs appends a condor release program’s web address for interested readers. (Fiction. 11-13)