Book review: Lost Worlds by Andrew Lane
Prepare to be amazed... and amused... and totally blown away!
Andrew Lane, author of the top teen series Young Sherlock Holmes, has again found inspiration in the work of Arthur Conan Doyle, but zoom forward over 100 years, add some terrific techno wizardry, a cast of delightful misfits, a bit of yeti hunting and, hey presto, you have a thrilling 21st century take on the great man’s masterpiece, The Lost World.
And this is not just the first of another run-of-the-mill children’s series... Lost Worlds is a brilliant pastiche of old and new, a bang up-to-date adventure yarn in which computer gadgetry to impress the young and confound the not-so-young jostles with the traditional ingredients of action, suspense and danger.
And if that wasn’t enough, Lane throws in some entertaining plot twists, brilliant teen banter, cleverly cloaked lessons in history, palaeontology and genetics, and an unforgettable robot called ARLENE who threatens to steal the show.
Calum Challenger is not like any other teenager – and that’s not just because his great-grandfather was Professor George Edward Challenger whose explorations in South America are the stuff of legend.
Sixteen-year-old Calum’s life changed forever two years ago when a devastating accident left both his parents dead and his legs paralysed.
A massive compensation pay-out has financed his own flashy London apartment where he surrounds himself with a multi-screen, high-definition, hex-core computer system and spends his days searching the worldwide web for evidence of the Almasti, the supposedly mythological ‘missing link’ creatures whose DNA could provide a gene to regenerate his damaged leg nerves.
And there’s been a possible sighting in the remote Caucasus Mountains in Georgia near Russia, but wheelchair-bound Calum is going to need some help to track them down, harvest their DNA and protect them for posterity.
Cue... free-spirited rooftop-runner Gecko, who is prey for ruthless gangsters, precociously clever student Tara Flynn, whose illegal computer hacking has put her into the clutches of a secretive company called Nemor Incorporated, and the lovely Natalie Livingstone, rich, spoilt daughter of his Californian guardian and a girl more interested in partying than trekking.
They will all become Calum’s top team, led by ex-Special Forces officer ‘Rhino’ Gillis who prefers guns and engines to people and needs to get out of circulation for a while.
Under the watchful eye of Calum and his computer gadgetry, the motley crew of adventurers criss-cross the globe in search of the Almasti whilst desperately trying to keep one step ahead of Nemor Inc which turns out to be a large, shadowy pharmaceutical company with villains prepared to kill in pursuit of their own goals...
Lost Worlds is an exciting, refreshingly intelligent and action-packed new series full of awesome locations, fascinating technology and quirky but accessible characters who will strike a chord with adventurous youngsters aged eleven and over.
And as an added techno bonus, Lost Worlds fans can log onto the Lost Worlds website at www.thelostworlds.co.uk to access Calum’s secret website, play the Lost Worlds game and unlock confidential information, and there’s a free app for smartphones and tablets which makes the book’s cover come to life!
Simply out of this world...
(Macmillan, paperback, £5.99)