Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Bloomswell Diaries (fiction)
Plots against peace...
This is not the way our history books portray the early 1900s!
On this World Wednesday, travel far with young Benjamin Bloomswell as he seeks the answers to his world-trekking parents' disappearance. The first-generation tinmen of England, like the redoubtable Olivander who works at the Bloomswell house in London, each have an insignia, rather like a badge which binds them loyally to someone.
However, those American tinmen attacking his uncle's New York townhouse are newer models, with no built-in loyalty feature. Inside their metal torsos, they can store weapons or treasure or young teenagers! These are not friendly Tik-Tok of Oz mechanical men at all!
Steampunk action, intrigue, espionage, and a rambunctious circus group make this diary anything but dull!
Look for The Bloomswell Diaries at your local independent bookstore or library. Here's hoping that first-time author Buitendag continues the adventure!
Book info: The Bloomswell Diaries / Louis L. Buitendag. Kane Miller Books, 2011. [book's Facebook page] [publisher site]
My Recommendation: Ben hardly settles into his uncle’s house in America before there are sinister phone calls, a break-in, and a murder. Odd answers to his telegrams sent to his big sister Liza’s new boarding school in Switzerland, no way to contact his parents on yet another business trip away from their London home.
The newspaper report that Mr. and Mrs. Bloomswell had been found dead cannot be correct – Ben and his parents were still sailing across the Atlantic on the date given for their funeral! As his uncle explains the true nature of the Bloomswells’ overseas journeys to stop sinister plots against world peace, he accidently lets out secrets that were better left unsaid.
Suddenly, Ben must outrun ruffians and mechanical men sent by a mysterious enemy. These American tinmen have no insignia that binds them to a family in loyalty. Could they be agents of The Buyer his uncle warned him about or someone worse? Ben tries to escape a decrepit orphanage far from the city, using skills learned from Olivander, the Bloomswells’ loyal mechanical man. He must get to Liza so they can solve the mystery of their parents’ disappearance!
Hurrying to hide aboard a steamer in New York harbor, Ben can only pray that the ship is heading for Europe. Down in the ship’s cargo hold, a circus owner guarding crates of super-secret magic tricks swears he won’t report Ben as a stowaway. As the ship slowly journeys toward England, Mr. Holiday and Ben realize that they are being chased by someone or something that wants both them and their cargo.
Are Ben and the circus folk really on the same side? Can they outwit the enemies pursuing them? Is Liza safe at school? Have their parents succeeded in their vital mission?
Crossing oceans and mountains on ships, carriages, and railway trains, pursued by mechanical men and shadowy villains, Ben’s entries in The Bloomswell Diaries are a fascinating alternate view of the early 1900s with a very deep, sinister mystery.
(One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.