In Pendragon: The Merchant of Death
, D.J. MacHale, the creator of several popular television series and Afterschool Specials, transplants the Pendragon name from Arthurian legend to modern-day junior high school. Fourteen- year-old Bobby Pendragon has it all; he's smart, popular, and a star basketball player in quiet Stony Brook, Connecticut. But a visit from Uncle Press soon topples all of that as Bobby learns that he is a Traveler, someone who can ride "flumes" through time and space. Bobby lands in Denduron, a medieval world where the gentle Milago are enslaved by the Bedoowan, and it's Bobby's job to free them. He reluctantly teams up with Loor--a girl his age from the warrior-territory of Zadaa--and other Travelers, recounting his adventures in journals that are magically transported back to his friends Mark and Courtney in Stony Brook. These first-person journals at times feel contrived--they're riddled with terms like "coolio" and "bizarro" and gnarly descriptions of vile sights and smells--but the book's thumping story soon scrubs away all such concern. The Merchant of Death
keeps the pages flipping with steady action and near-constant mortal peril for its heroes, promising that both this and future volumes in the Pendragon series should be eagerly devoured. (Ages 10 and older) --D.J. Morel
From Publishers Weekly
The popular fantasy time-travel series makes a smooth transition to audio with Dufris at the helm, using his upbeat delivery and believable teen rhythms to keep listeners enthralled. Bobby Pendragon, 14, thinks he's a pretty normal kid, worried about his next basketball game and his almost-girlfriend. But then Uncle Press changes everything by telling Bobby that he is a Traveler, capable of transporting through time via magical flumes. This first trip sends him to Denduron, a medieval realm in the middle of a revolution. Bobby's challenges there are dangerous and many, and he keeps his best friend at home (on "Second Earth"), Mark, apprised of his adventures with mystically relayed letters. Fans of the books will want to hear Dufris's gripping interpretation; newcomers will quickly get hooked. In addition to this recording, Brilliance has simultaneously released Pendragon titles two through six, just in time for summer listening. Ages 10-14. (June)
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