Middle-grade readers looking for an adventure story with a dash of history and a little mystery will likely enjoy A.M. Morgen’s new book The Inventors at No. 8.

Set in 1828 London, Morgen’s historical fiction novel takes the reader on a treasure hunt with George, the Third Lord of Devonshire who is weighted by fear and self-doubt but has a stubborn streak; Ada Byron, a sharp, funny, and rarely humble girl who always has a plan swirling in her scientific mind; Oscar, a gifted artist who knows colors and the minerals that produce them; and Ruthie, an orangutan who has learned semaphore and can read someone’s gloomy mood, which prompts her to administer comfort.

When Frobisher, George’s man servant and only friend, is kidnapped by the mysterious and sinister Organization, this crew of young people from Dorset Square embark on a journey with George’s grandfather’s map and Ada’s flying machine to find the Star of Victory in ten days so that Frobisher will not die.

To rescue Frobisher, however, George will have to venture “Out There,” beyond the safety of his home, where he is convinced all series of mishaps and adversity will follow him.  And he has thirteen some odd Exhibits to prove that he’s cursed with rotten luck!  Their rescue mission might mean the troupe goes to prison, encounters pirates, eludes mystical forces, and dodges the nefarious criminals also seeking the treasure that is George’s legacy.

Having lived a mostly sheltered life prior to his becoming an orphan, George is worried.  The world has been mostly black and white for him, and facts have made life explainable.  According to Ada, a good plan takes all variables into account, so she tells George to keep an open mind and to trust her.  She also explains that worry and emotion clog one’s reasoning capabilities.  But George’s worry might not be unwarranted because Ada has been keeping secrets from him–not the least of which is that she is the daughter of  the poet Lord Byron.

Despite his depleted self-confidence, George learns much on this journey filled with danger and surprises.  From Oscar, he learns that “hope doesn’t cost anything, so you might as well have lots of it” (173); from Ruthie, he learns about comfort and the value of touch; and from Ada he learns that it’s not his circumstances that define him but how he tackles them.

Readers are sure to find inspiration in Morgen’s characters who are brave in the pursuit of accomplishment and adventure.

  • Posted by Donna

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