The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman, illustrated by Fred Fordham, 160pp, RL 4
The Adventures of John Blake is Philip Pullman's first foray into graphic novels and it is fantastic! It reads like a James Bond movie - fast paced, filled with action, intrigue, espionage, technology and, in this case, a time traveling ghost ship. Fred Fordham's illustrations are spare and filled with energy, adding to the cinematic feel.
Australian teenager Serena Anderson and her family are caught in a storm. When she wakes up, she is on board the Mary Alice, a ghost ship that travels in and out of time with a crew of sailors from across the centuries - there is even Marcus Tullus Pallas, an engineer from Ancient Rome! There, she meets John Blake, a teenager from a different time who came aboard the Mary Alice when a science experiment his father was conducting at sea when wrong. Tracking the course of the Mary Alice is Danielle Quayle Reid, a Harvard Law graduate, and Roger Blake, a commander in the Royal Navy. One other person is also searching for the Mary Alice - Carlos Dahlberg, a Steve Jobs type technology mogul who creates the Apparator, a smartphone (but better) like device that is used by people across the globe. Everyone has a reason to be seeking this ghost ship, some more dangerous than others. Trying to return Serena to her own time and family, John and the crew of the Mary Alice take some risks and make some enemies, but the mystery of the strange, floating golden device. . . The mix of science, science fiction, history and adventure in this book is one that readers won't forget!
Hopefully you know who Philip Pullman is and maybe you have even read some of his marvelous novels. The Adventures of John Blake was first serialized in the weekly comic book for kids, The Phoenix, started by British publisher of kid's books, David Fickling Books. The Adventures of John Blake has to be a series because this first volume ended with a real cliffhanger!