Synopses & Reviews
Now that the Axis Institute for World Domination has been blown up; the founder, Dr. Phineas Darkkon, has died; and Prosper English (who enrolled Cadel in the first place) is in jail for myriad offenses, Cadel Piggott has round-the-clock surveillance so he'll be safe until he testifies against Prosper English. But nobody seems to want Cadel. Not Fiona, his social worker; not Saul Greeniaus, the detective assigned to protect him. and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; When he is approached by the head of Genius Squad--a group formed to investigate GenoME, one of Darkkon's pet projects--Cadel is dubious Genius Squad can offer him a real home and all the technology his heart desires. But why can't he bring himself to tell Saul what the group is really up to? And how can Genius Squad protect Cadel once Prosper English breaks out of jail?
"With a series of breakneck twists and turns, Jinks's (the Pagan Chronicles) latest novel follows Cadel Piggott, a seven-year-old Australian boy with an incredible mind and a proclivity toward mischief: 'He loved systems: phone systems, electrical systems, car engines, complicated traffic intersections.' Following a string of disasters, which Cadel engineers (e.g., hacking into the city's power grid), his desperate adoptive parents take him to a psychologist, Dr. Thaddeus Roth. But instead of refocusing Cadel on more positive activities, Dr. Roth encourages the boy to develop increasingly destructive plans, such as orchestrating massive traffic jams and manipulating his classmates' emotions so that they turn on one another. Dr. Roth also stuns Cadel by revealing that he is employed by Cadel's birth father, Dr. Phineas Darkkon, a criminal mastermind serving a life sentence. From prison, Dr. Darkkon established the Axis Institute for the world's genetically talented and criminally inclined. Drs. Roth and Darkkon convince Cadel to join its small freshman class, and Cadel slowly uncovers a conspiracy of lies and betrayals that leave no aspect of his life untouched. Jinks has created an intricate, well-constructed and layered reality in this hefty novel, and as the complex deceptions that have shaped Cadel's life come to light, his emotional unraveling and awakening will likely engross readers. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This book will appeal to younger teens who can see the possibilities for adventure through the eyes of the bad guys." VOYA
"[T]he dark humor and freakish characters (the student whose stench is so awful he has to wear a spaceman-like suit; the beautiful, devious, mind-reading twins) may grab fantasy readers with a cynical bent who are looking for something out of the ordinary." KLIATT
Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At seven, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now he's fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, misinformation, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Although Cadel may be advanced beyond his years, at heart he's a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his studies for the first time. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?
An engrossing thriller with darkness and humor, freaks and geeks, Evil Genius explores the fine line between good and evil in a strange world of manipulations and subterfuge where nothing is as it seems.
An entertaining romp through sinister evil.
Seventeen-year-old Cheney and his fellow passengers have known life only aboard Plexus: self-contained, systematic, and serene. When a mysterious radiation wave causes Plexus to turn on them, Cheney and his friends must fight back before the ship thats nurtured them for so long becomes responsible for their destruction.
Boy-genius Cadel Piggot has a new life. No more illegal hacking, no more false identities, and no more Prosper English. In fact, he even has a new family, and a new name--Cadel Greenaius. But when his best friend Sonja is attacked, he must figure out how the attack was executed, and who was behind it, a task that sends him barrelling back into the depths of the criminal activity he'd left behind, across oceans and continents, and straight into the life of Prosper English. With all of the high-tech hijinks and fast paced action that made the first two books a huge success, GENIUS WARS is sure to please both fans of the series and new readers alike.
Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ. At seven, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now hes fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Includes an interview with the author.
A gripping sci-fi thriller about a spaceship that transforms into a living organism and then begins to turn on the human crew as if they are parasites.
What happens when a single moment changes everything? For seventeen-year-old Cheney, life on earth exists only in history books. He and more than one thousand other people have known life only aboard the Plexus spacecraft: self-contained, systematic, and serene. But that was before the radiation wave.
Now Plexus has suddenly turned on them, becoming a terrifying and unrecognizable force. As the crew dwindles under attack, Cheney and his friends need to fight back before the ship thats nurtured them for so long becomes responsible for their destruction.
About the Author
CATHERINE JINKS was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1963. She grew up in Papua New Guinea and later spent four years studying medieval history at the University of Sydney. After working for several years in a bank, she married a Canadian journalist and lived for a short time in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is now a full-time writer, residing in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales with her husband Peter and their daughter Hannah.Catherine is a three-time winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier's Literature Award, the Ena Noel Award for Children's Literature, and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children's Literature.
Interview with Catherine Jinks, author of Evil Genius
Q: The Axis Institute is a "special place for special people." What inspired you to create a school that trains its students for careers in world domination and teaches courses including disguise, forgery, and misinformation?
A: The Axis Institute resulted from a conversation I had several years ago with my brother and my husband. We were looking at my nephew's Professor Gangrene action figure, and my husband said, "What I want to know is where do these baddies get their degrees from?" Then my brother said, "From the University of Evil, where else?"
My brother, who teaches psychology at a university, went on to explain how there would have to be two disciplines of evil -- pure and applied. Pure evil would teach the theoretical side of things, whereas applied evil would cover the practical aspects. Applied evil would get much more funding, but there would be constant complaints from those teachers because pure evil would get all the students.
Q: Cadel Piggott, the novel's protagonist, uses his extensive knowledge of computers and networks to set up a phony company and cause major traffic jams. Would he consider himself to be an "evil genius?"
A: Not at first, no. Cadel doesn't have a moral compass; that's his problem. Thanks to his upbringing, hes very confused about what's right and wrong, especially when these concepts apply to him. Only after he meets Sonja and starts questioning Thaddeus does he begin to understand that there's a different -- and much better -- way of looking at the world.
Q: You studied medieval history at the University of Sydney, an area of expertise that has informed your Pagan Chronicles. How did you approach Evil Genius, a book that is quite technological? Did you know how computers and complex network systems work prior to writing this story?
A: I'm afraid I don't have a very technological brain, and I could only attack the subject matter by using the skills I acquired as a journalist: namely, research, research, and more research. Luckily, I met a genuine computer/mathematical genius last year, and he's been enormously helpful to me as I write Genius Squad, the sequel to Evil Genius.
Q: You wrote your first book, I Wish I Was a Jungle Girl, when you were only ten years old. What was it about putting pen to paper that appealed to you then? What is it about writing that still appeals to you? Do you have any advice for budding young writers?
A: Creating different worlds, whether text based or pictorial, is simply an escape mechanism. It's how you cope if you dont care for the real world very much. Over the years, my motivation hasn't changed: I'm basically trying to become someone else, in another time and place. It's a technique that still works pretty well, and it's not only cheaper than therapyit can be profitable!
I'm not claiming that novel writing is an all-round money spinner. In Australia, for instance, it's very tough for budding young writers -- let alone experienced ones! I suppose my advice would be to read a lot and get some experience in journalism and research (rather than creative writing). Also, try using the Internet to kick off your career. The Internet wasn't around when I was starting out as a writer, but I'm absolutely sure it's the way to get attention now. You just have to use it imaginatively.
Q: You are a journalist as well as an author of picture books, teen fantasy novels, and books for adults. Does your approach change when you write for these different audiences?
A: Up to a point, yes. I write for pretty much every age group there is, and it's always important to keep your audience in mind. I wont use words like inanition or malapropism in a book for eleven-year-olds, though those words are fine in an adult book. I'm also conscious that a younger audience will go with you absolutely anywhere when it comes to way-out ideas, but adults like things to be grounded in reality. Adults will put up with very little incident in a plot, but a young audience won't. Kids have far less patience than adults when it comes to narrative drive. As for picture books, they're a whole different ball game -- they are more closely related to short stories or even poetry than novels.
On the other hand, there are certain elements that remain the same no matter who will be reading the book. The characters must be interesting, and the setting should be entirely believable in the context of the story, whether the tale takes place in twelfth-century Jerusalem or on a spaceship two thousand years in the future. Whatever age group I'm targeting, I always immerse myself thoroughly in the characters and the world in which they live.
Q: When you were working on Evil Genius, did you listen to any artists or songs to help you get in touch with your wicked side?
A: I always use theme music when I'm writing. Oddly enough, for Evil Genius my soundtrack was "The Boys of Summer" by Don Henley. In case that sounds a little daggy (which means uncool here in Oz), let me just point out that I've been listening to Powderfinger, an Aussie band of fairly recent vintage, while working on Genius Squad.
Q: Can you give us any clues as to whats in store for Cadel in Genius Squad?
A: I don't really want to give away any plot twists, but rest assured that Prosper English (alias Thaddeus Roth) will be back, as will Sonja, Gazo, Vadi, Alias, and Niobe. You'll also meet a host of new characters, including a handful of teenage geniuses. These teens aren't really evil, but they're not exactly law abiding citizens, either. And you'll discover how poor Cadel finds his place in the world -- after so much drifting around in a loveless limbo.
Copyright © 2007 Harcourt
Questions written by Roseleigh Navarre