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The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp Paperback – May 27, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8–Astonishingly tall 15-year-old Alfred is plunged into a world of adventure, assassination, and Arthurian legend when he agrees to help his uncle filch an ancient sword from the office of a CEO who just happens to be a descendent of the Knights of the Round Table. Of course the sword turns out to be none other than Excalibur, and the guy Alfred swiped it for is Mogart, a knight-gone-bad who hopes to use its magical powers to take over the world. Enter Bennacio, another descendant of the Round Table, who then takes Alfred under his wing on a quest across the Atlantic to rescue the sword from Mogart. The descriptions of minor bits of blood and gore leave much to the imagination and will make Kropp especially appealing to fans of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books (Philomel), Geoffrey Huntington's Sorcerers of the Nightwing (ReganBooks, 2002), and even Darren Shan's The Saga of Darren Shan series (Little, Brown). True to its action-adventure genre, the story is lighthearted, entertaining, occasionally half-witted, but by and large fun.–Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12^B. Everyone around Alfred Kropp is dying. And all because the unassuming 15-year-old took something he shouldn't have. Darned kid. Then the big lug goes on to save the world. Sound incredible? Well, not when you learn that what he's taken is Excalibur, King Arthur's sword, the most powerful weapon on earth, which has somehow survived in the custody of descendants of the original Knights of the Round Table. Of course, taking the sword is one thing; keeping it, as Alfred discovers, is quite another, especially given international forces--for good and evil--are after Excalibur, too, and they will stop at nothing to get it back. Heads literally roll in the ensuing, intensely violent and cinematic action, as Alfred discovers enough astonishing things about himself to fire a whole host of sequels, which are sure to follow. For readers willing to suspend disbelief, Yancey's first novel for YAs is a white-knuckle, page-turning read. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Alfred Kropp
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1st edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599902834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599902838
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 0.8 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Yancey is the author several books for adults, including The Highly Effective Detective. He is also a produced playwright and former theater critic. He lives in Gainesville, Florida with his wife and three sons. Visit him at www.rickyancey.com.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Fifteen-year-old, down-on-his-luck Alfred Kropp seems to have drawn the short straw in life. Cursed from birth by his unusually large proportions, including his big head, big hands and big feet, the kids at school call him Frankenstein and everyone thinks he's mentally handicapped, even though he's most definitely not. (His worried mom once even had his IQ tested and confirmed that he was "just a big boy meant for big things.") His shy, awkward personality doesn't help matters, nor does his tendency to hole up in his room listening to music instead of playing sports and pursuing girls like the other boys his age.

Alfred's unfortunate luck in the family department hasn't made things any easier either: he never knew his dad, who left before he was even born, and his mom died of cancer when he was just 12. Shuttled between foster homes until being taken in by his well-meaning but clueless Uncle Farrell, poor Alfred has lost just about everything in the world of value to him, except his hilarious sense of humor.

Besides being funny, the only thing Alfred seems to excel at is failure --- failing at math, failing at taking his drivers test (twice, to be exact), and failing at being even a second-string player on the school football team (he can't seem to memorize the playbook). But little does he know that his underachieving status is about to undergo a supersized overhaul when his uncle latches onto a dodgy get-rich-quick scheme to retrieve a stolen sword from the office building where he works as a security guard.

Against his better judgment, Alfred is roped into being an accessory to the crime, which goes horribly awry and sets a deadly chain of events in motion.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Robinson on April 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm not normally a fan of the hapless hero. I prefer my heroes to be smart and brave and action-oriented. And Alfred Kropp is definitely of the hapless breed of heroes. He's big-headed and slow on the uptake, and a self-declared screwup. He fails at playing football, doesn't have any friends, and spends most of his time lying around in his room watching TV. And yet ... he falls into an epic sort of adventure, and through sheer tenacity he manages to save the world. And somehow as I listened to the book he got under my skin, and I found myself caring what happened to him.

I think that this would be an excellent book for early teens who are feeling awkward, or uncertain about their place in the world. For anyone who sometimes feels too big or too slow or too different, but who INSIDE knows that he or she has the potential for greatness.

The book is also a fun read for anyone, full of chases and sword-fights, and bravery and betrayal. Arthurian legend is juxtaposed against modern-day espionage, with all of the associated trappings of both. Picture black helicopters, Ferrari Enzos, and Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycles along with Stonehenge, King Arthur's sword, and bows and arrows, and you begin to get the idea. The character of Bennacio is also highly entertaining, with a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and little patience with young Alfred's mis-steps.

All in all The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is worth checking out.

This review was originally published on my blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page, on February 10, 2006.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark V. Filosi on January 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Hats off to Richard Yancey. I just finished this book. I read straight through to 1 in the morning, I couldn't put it down.

It is a book that makes you want to cheer for the main character Alfred. He is the ultimate underdog. He is the epitome of all gangley goofy middleschoolers everywhere.

It reminds me of my childhood, when you doubt yourself and feel like you cannot accomplish anything. Alfred feels like everybody is better than he is. He doesn't have any particular thing that he accels in. But he meets some people who change all that and a wild adventurous ride begins. It is loaded with lore, adventure, swordplay and quips from Alfred.

This is one of those stories that is good without being vulgar or obscene. I would let my nephew in middle school read it without hesitation.

The book is inspirational, fast paced, blending all that we know about knights with exotic cars, father-son interaction, thoughts about values and things important to life. You can tell that Yancey has three boys. This would be the kind of story I would like to invent if I had boys their age.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't put it down and I was completely absorbed by the characters. The good guys were so cool, yet not perfect, and the bad guy was so evil it was scary.

Alfred is most definitely one of my favorite heros now. I loved the way he was a complete nerd( yet a very cool nerd) and yet he, like, saved the world and even died doing it.

Oh, another cool thing about this book is that Mr. Yancey didn't leave the hero dead!!! Hooray!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By persephone_stephanie on August 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't really expecting much when I picked the book up. The plot summary seemed...entertaining at best. But I was in for a pleasant surprise when I read it! I couldn't put it down.

The greatness of the heroes(especially Benaccio; he was my absolute favorite character, by far!) and the wickedness of the villains was a perfect classic story set up. With a few sweet cars in there too. Knights have to travel in style, you know.
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