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The Tripods Attack! (The Young Chesterton Chronicles) Paperback – March 27, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John McNichol was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1970 and spent the first eighteen years of his life there before attending Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he met his wife, Jeanna. Today they live with their six children in Vancouver, Washington, Where John earned Master's degrees in English Literature and Education, and teaches middle school.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Young Chesterton Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sophia Institute Press (March 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933184264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933184265
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book, The Tripods Attack!, by John McNichol, is definitely a book worth reading. Very discriptive, so you know exactly what's going on, laugh-out-loud funny for relief from the dark and eerie plot line, and above all, Catholic! The idea of putting a well-known author, G.K. Chesterton, in the shoes of a teenage boy with no parents, yearning for a better life is amazingly clever and I have no words to describe it further. Mr. McNichol has further enhanced the book's quality by placing our world in a different history than what actually happened, so be prepared for some early confusion. He also makes the characters reflect other real people, such as H.G. Wells. A fascinating book, I couldn't put it down for three days(I finished it in that time, thick as it was)! The series will be a trilogy, and I can't wait for the next one!
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Format: Paperback
Steampunk *and* GK Chesterton as the protagonist? What's not to like? While The Tripods Attack is definitely geared towards the YA audience, I thoroughly enjoyed it without any guilt or hesitation. Father Brown and (perhaps) Professor Moriarity as the adults and competing moral pulls on Chesterton and Wells were inspired choices. The characterization of all four, and the mysterious Red-Headed Girl, were engaging and the style of the book as a whole should make it a fun read for anybody who picks it up. I also enjoyed the references to Elwin Ransom and Malacandra from C.S. Lewis' sci-fi trilogy (which I also recommend - those who liked it will like this, and vice versa).

The conspiracy and eugenics-flavored metaplot that bubbles up here and there, especially in the epilogue, definitely has me hooked. I can't wait to see where the series goes.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book, then gave it to my 12 year old son, who is homeschooled. He was thoroughly entranced, and devoured it in 3 days. This book combines real life people from history with fictional characters in an alternate universe. Imagine Father Brown and Professor Moriarty schlepping around Victorian England with H.G. Wells and G.K. Chesterton during a Martian invasion! While dodging heat rays and black smoke, they engage in some well-crafted philosophical sparring. Although the moral religious aspect is pointed, this is not a tract or polemic. Primarily, it is a work of fiction that is read for pure enjoyment. The author doesn't lack for creativity, thats for certain. His writing is solid, although he could benefit from better proofreading and fact checking. Abe Lincoln's running mate in 1860 was Hannibal Hamlin, not Andrew Jackson. But these are minor defects. Put this book next to the crapola that passes for juvenille fiction these days, and it stands out as a work of high quality that will, I think, withstand the test of time. I anxiously await the next installment.
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Format: Paperback
Years ago, I edited a tiny Catholic 'zine devoted to science fiction, both classic and contemporary; one of the things I hoped to see in the future were Catholic science fiction novels that were both authentically Catholic and authentically science fictional, the sort of book that both Catholic readers who truly live and love their faith and readers of well-written science fiction could both enjoy. I may not have achieved that vision before reality obliged me to shut down publication, but this book definately makes that vision real!

I cannot get over how excellent this book really is. Author John McNichol brings together elements that you wouldn't think would fit together at first, but which wind up working excellently, much like a well-made anime series, and I could see this book brought to life as an animated series or a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, in the order of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Widescreen Special Collector's Edition). There are echoes of all kinds of things: the real G.K. Chesterton's own Father Brown is a main player, as is a character eeriely like the insidious Professor Moriarity from the Sherlock Holmes series; the plot heavily evokes both H.G. Wells's "The War of the Worlds" and also C.S. Lewis's "Space Trilogy" (Out of the Silent Planet, and Perelandra, especially); "gosh-wow!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think the 9 year-old boy's review says it best:

"I LOVED The Tripods Attack because there was lots of violence. I liked how it had sadness in the end, like most of the books I read. Finally, I loved how they had the flame thrower and the .45 colt."

The Tripods Attack! is wonderfully bloodcurdling and gruesome, although its dizzy Victorian setting and many in-jokes keep it from getting too dark. Steampunk is a rather Chestertonian genre to begin with, and The Tripods Attack! resembles Chesterton's own fiction in some ways. It helps that Father Brown is a character in it, as well as Chesterton himself and a young HG Wells. But there are other characters as well: the girl "with hair as red as a Welsh sunset" that Chesterton dreams of, who is really a secret agent; and the natty and evil Doctor, who proves remarkably hard to gt rid of. The end of the book is the perfect setup for the next volume, which for all I know has not even been written yet.

This book is full of action - high marks for a scene on a runaway train and for an underground cat-and-mouse chase that is almost worthy of "Alien" - and its fractured fantasy world is vividly described. The writing is always solid and often clever. The messages do stick out, as one reviewer said, but they are never allowed to get pointier than the deadly Martian fangs or the stilettos wielded by Chesterton's rogue secret agent mother. (Did I mention that this book is surreal?) Father Brown is GKC's Father Brown, and he *does* launch into the same theological expositions. McNichol could afford to be less on-the-nose next time... however, the book *works*, and it knows that even though it is a tribute to Chesterton published by a small Catholic press, it is a story, nothing more - and nothing less.
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