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The Emperor of North America Paperback – August 25, 2011

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The Emperor of North America + The King's Gambit + The Tripods Attack! (The Young Chesterton Chronicles)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Bezalel Books (August 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193645307X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936453078
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Kevin G. Vost on February 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't read a lot of fiction, and when I do I appreciate a book that keeps me on the edge of my seat, which made this book difficult to read while sunk into my recliner. The action in this book starts off at warp speed and amps up the warps as each chapter progresses, which is why I read its 470 pages in about three evenings.

The feel and the fun of this book recalls to my mind the Wild Wild West television series my brother and I loved so much as kids back in the 1960s. There are rangers, detectives, wacky inventors, villains galore, beautiful damsels both evil and good, and, of course, our great, though young Chestertonian hero. There are all kinds of fun surprises and cameos too, one of my favorites being a young British boy who would later credit Chesterton with his conversion to Christ, and gain great fame with his tales of Narnia.

I won't go into the plot with its intriguing twists, leaving them for you to unravel and enjoy, but I'll point out one of my favorite little extras The Emperor of North America provides in a superabundance. In crafting this adventure, McNichol gives free rein to his imagination in a way I think Chesterton would have approved. This is no fictionalized biography of a young G. K. Chesterton, but a freewheeling tale of McNichol's invention. Still, the spirit and words of G.K.C. are in there aplenty, especially in those little extras I'm finally getting around to explaining. At the beginning of each and every of one of this book's 84 fast-paced chapters is a quote from the actual writings of Chesterton himself, and part of the fun for me was seeing how deftly they presaged the goings-on within each of those chapters.

I found this book a joy to read. Congratulations John, and Hail to The Emperor of North America!

Kevin Vost, Psy.D. is the author of Tending the Temple, Three Irish Saints, and other such books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julie D. VINE VOICE on October 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
If Gilbert Chesterton and Herb Wells were best friends in a steampunk universe when they were 17 and had a crazy adventure involving airships, robots, flying cities, Pinkerton men, a mysterious female nemesis, Gil's true love, a couple of courageous young lads who double as inventors, and much more ... then you would have this book.

It grabbed me in a most unexpected way as you may be able to tell from the fact that I picked it up yesterday morning to read something different and early that evening found myself on page 300. I polished it off this morning. It's an adventure a minute but with time here and there to consider a few deeper things in life ... before being whisked off to another phase of the adventure.

Who is it that is after Gil and never quits trying, using all the forces that money can buy, to get their hands on him? And why would anyone be interested in a young journalist?

What a great time this book is ... all those disparate ingredients may make it sound chaotic but the author just keeps sending you further on the adventure and it all makes perfect sense at the time it is happening.

In the final analysis, I really enjoyed this and definitely recommend it. There are strains of Catholic worldview that are shown as part of various characters' moral fiber and others are shown espousing different views that are set in opposition. I didn't find these to be preachy or moralistic, and they were not the main focus of the action, though they definitely motivated actions. As with all things of this nature, your milage may vary.

I would say that although I enjoyed the mash-up of real and fictional characters, toward the end it did become a bit wearying to have every single major character be referential.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Fitz on November 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
My son & I read The Tripods Attack when it first came out, and we got so impatient for the sequel that we started pestering Mr. McNichol. (Who invited us to pizza when we were in town and signed our copy of Tripods -- awesome guy. I'm on the record as nominating him for Coolest Author In The Universe.) We were not the least bit disappointed with Emperor -- I'd say I was pleasantly surprised with all the new twists and surprises.

What it is: An action-packed Catholic steampunk alternate history in which young GK Chesterton fights aliens (first book) and Bond-caliber bad guys (this book). Ton of fun. Something the boy and I really loved was trying to figure out all the literary and historical references. As a mom, I like the catholic worldview, which is authentic, challenging, and never gooey sweet or over-easy. JDM is a middle school teacher and dad to teens, and you can tell he has a feel for what real teens talk about and think about. My son likes the action.

Age appropriateness: I give it a PG for violence and mature themes related to violence -- described with a restrained hand, but this isn't the Bobbsey Twins. Romantic scenes are g-rated -- chaste as you can be and still feature a normal teenage boy who gets close enough to kiss the female lead.

Reading level: My son read the first book in elementary school, but I'd recommend this for most readers middle school and up. You need to be able to read big words and long sentences, follow a complex plot with lots of characters, and stick it out through a lot of pages. But, this is THE BOOK for getting your boy to sit down read. It's long, but it is action-packed and the plot never slows the whole way through. Genuine page-turner.
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