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Seven Professors of the Far North Paperback – September 7, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–Eleven-year-old Sam Carnabie is spending two weeks with the intriguing Professor Ampersand, an old family friend, and his young charges, Zara and Ben. Upon arrival in Edinburgh, Sam is amazed by the thousands of quirky inventions that the professor created in his fantastic home and learns about his host's intriguing past. Thirty-five years earlier, the professor and six colleagues had attempted to create the world's greatest university on an island nation called Nordbergen in the Arctic. One of them was evil Professor Murdo, who kidnapped his colleagues and left them to die. Fortunately, his plan didn't work. Unfortunately for Sam and the siblings, Professor Murdo's henchmen appear and again kidnap the six good professors, who have gathered at Ampersand's because of rumors of Murdo's reemergence. The children have only three days to rescue the professors and save the human race. Side stories involving Marcia Slick and her dreadful parents, who have paid a fortune to Nordbergen Research Enterprises to turn her into the perfect daughter, and several teenagers who aid Sam, Ben, and Zara culminate with the infiltration of the children into Murdo's lair. Comic relief is provided by Ampersand's cranky neighbor, who speaks in colorful Scots language. Action is nonstop and very exciting. This inventive, funny, suspenseful, and exciting book will appeal to most readers, especially fans of Dahl and Rowling.–B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY
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.
Gr. 5-8. Three British children set out to rescue six elderly scientists who have been kidnapped by Professor Murdo, an evil genius in the classic evil-genius mold. (He is the sort of villain who shouts, "It's time to prove to you all that I'm the greatest genius the world has ever known.") Murdo is holding his victims on a remote island fortress in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The children manage to get close to Murdo's island by using a series of elaborate, improbable schemes and vehicles, and once on the island, they learn of Murdo's greater diabolical plans of world domination. Small spot drawings contributed by the author will help pull young readers into this fast-paced, wildly far-fetched British import, that offers plenty of humor and suspense for adventure fans. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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This and the follow-on book are cracker-jack.
Fast paced, great characters and some very serious themes are presented in a way that I can only say was superb!
We all read this out loud, cuddled up in bed over each evening.
A smashing good read and the second book was even better!
"The professor was right, Sam decided. He did feel at home here. There was something about the sparkle of the fairy lights reflecting magically on glass test tubes; something about the warm glow of the lamps casting mysterious shadows of still more mysterious inventions; something that made Sam's stomach tingle the way it had when he'd first breathed in the smell of the motorbike and sidecar."
Sam doesn't get much time to enjoy the professor's house, however. His first night is interrupted by the arrival of a colleague of the professor's, Eric Gauntraker, exhausted and ill and bearing a mysterious message. The children learn that the two professors were part of a team of "Seven Professors of the Far North", founding members of a university on the remote, icy island country of Nordbergen. Before the university could really get off the ground, one of their members, Professor Murdo, betrayed the team, and the local community, and destroyed the university. And now, years later, Murdo has reappeared on the island. Professors Ampersand and Gauntraker convene their other four colleagues to discuss a plan of action. Before they can get very far, however, all six professors are kidnapped by mysterious intruders.
The children are left on their own, hidden away upstairs with a clue that the professors have left them. And, being intrepid and loyal children, they set out to search for, and rescue, the professors. They discover a hidden means of transportation up to the far north (it's very cool!) and make a few friends along the way. They also, with the help of another child who has been kidnapped by Professor Murdo, uncover Murdo's heinous plot, and encounter many dangers. None of it is very plausible. But it is suspenseful, fun, fast-paced, and filled with likable characters. Personally, I can't wait to read the sequel, The Flight of the Silver Turtle.
This book review was originally published on my blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page, on January 27th, 2007.
No sooner have they finished dinner on the very first night of Sam's visit, however, than an urgent message arrives, quickly followed by five of Professor Ampersand's former colleagues. Together with another scientist, Professor Murdo, they were once responsible for trying to found a top-level university at Nordberg, a tiny island in the far north. However, when Professor Murdo's unethical experiments came to light, he decided to flee, taking his six colleagues with him and abandoning them in a huge field of snow and ice. Only a secret known to one of them, a secret they've all promised never to reveal, got them home safely. When Professor Murdo's private soldiers show up a few hours later and kidnap all six professors, Sam, Ben and Zara are left with only a confusing clue to the secret and their unwavering determination as they set off to find the professors and unmask Murdo's frightening scheme.
The three children's surprising and exciting adventures are at the heart of the rest of the book as they wend their way north to the island of Nordberg. Alternating with scenes from the life of another girl, Marcia, who ends up in Professor Murdo's clutches for entirely different reasons, the story of Ben, Zara and Sam's escapades are edge-of-your-seat exciting, but always plausible in the context of the story. Fardell's world of surprising inventions means that the reader is constantly making new discoveries right along with the kids in the story. Although based in fact and science rather than fantasy, Fardell's world building is on a par with the Harry Potter books --- in fact, THE SEVEN PROFESSORS OF THE FAR NORTH reminded me more of the spirit of Harry Potter than any of the numerous copycat fantasy books spawned since the young wizard's success.
Each of the three children brings his or her own skills to the adventure --- Sam's preparedness, Ben's map-reading abilities, Zara's boldness --- and each of them comes up with innovative ideas when they're most needed, usually just in the nick of time. As the book approaches its exciting conclusion, it's easy to believe that their adventures have helped Sam, Ben and Zara develop the courage they need to confront Professor Murdo.
From start to finish, John Fardell's THE SEVEN PROFESSORS OF THE FAR NORTH is a delight to read.
--- Reviewed by Paula Jolin
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