Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Hacking Timbuktu Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In the twenty-first century, two young men are scanning ancient manuscripts to computer when they find the doodling of the long ago student in the margin of a page in a math textbook. That discovery launches a quest for the legendary gold. But one of them is going to be put out of the running immediately. The one left standing has one goal. The gold.
The London hackers are brought into the picture by a group calling itself Knights of Ankonio Dolo. Their methods are a little violent. Their goal? The gold. The abused hackers also now have a new goal. The gold. Omar and Danny are skilled in the practice of parkour - the ability to travel from one place to the next in a straight line very quickly, no matter the obstacles. They need to go to Timbuktu to find the cliffs of Dogon and the gold. The treasure hunters all converge on the same site.
This novel is very likable. The fourteenth century boy and Omar and Danny are all the same age and have many of the same sensibilities. It's easy to hate the hate-able characters, easy to feel sorry for the likable ones. This is an adventure novel and is likely to be especially liked by young teenage boys. It is not too dense and stays pretty tight with the story. Personally I would cover the book with warnings. "Don't try this at home."
In his Author's Note to his 2010 novel HACKING TIMBUKTU, missionary to Africa Stephen Davies, opines that he has just written "perhaps the first-ever parkour novel." You do not have to know anything about parkour before opening HACKING TIMBUKTU. The book will explain it all. But I was helped before I started reading, because my 15-year old grandson in Greenville, South Carolina took up parkouring (aka PKing) a couple of years back. I have ever since watched him leap across streams, scale pillars and fall without (too much) pain on shoulders, etc. after jumping off a ten-foot high tree house.
Action is non-stop from beginning of HACKING TIMBUKTU to end. Two English boys, Danny Temple and Omar Dupont (the latter bilingual in French, which helps greatly when the boys reach francophone Mali), are swept into a worldwide frenzied hunt for treasure. 700 years ago Akonio Dolo, a fictional 17-year old mathematics student in Timbuktu, Mali, had cleverly stolen millions of dollars of gold from a mosque. He left clues where to find his trove but they were not noticed until a university project scanning all ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu into computers popped up Akonio Dolo's clues.
Danny Temple is a world-class white hatted (i.e., he does no harm) computer hacker with some knowledge of parkour. His friend Omar Dupont is a master of parkour but a bit of a computer dud. Throughout HACKING TIMBUKTU there is constant interplay between the mental games played by the mind and the physical games played by bodies (called traceurs) that do parkour (PK). A perfect example, from many, is what happens at the Gatwick Airport.Read more ›
Action and adventure run rampant! If you want page-turning excitement, this is a book you will want to read. This a great addition the the Young Adult genre. If only more of the YA novels taught lessons. . . (Greed hides within us).
The not so good is the writing - long chunks of dialogue that conveys too much plot information gives it a first draft feel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had high hopes for this novel, with the combination of parkour and high tech hi-jinks, and it wasn't bad, exactly. Read morePublished on May 16, 2013 by Marcy L. Thompson
I read this book because I liked the premise. How could you go wrong by mixing parkour and computer hacking? But this book is poorly written. Read morePublished on April 23, 2011 by Zak