Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling, award-winning author of FEED comes a fantastic, fun, and funny middle-grade adventure starring two of the most disarmingly deadpan boys you'll ever meet
When Brian and Gregory receive an invitation to stay at a distant relative's strange manse . . . well, they should know better than to go, since this is a middle-grade adventure novel. But they go anyway. Why not? Once there, they stumble upon The Game of Sunken Places, a board game that mirrors a greater game for which they have suddenly became players. Soon the boys are dealing with attitudinal trolls, warring kingdoms, and some very starchy britches. Luckily, they have wit, deadpan observation, and a keen sense of adventure on their side.
"Anderson serves up a fantasy thriller that neatly combines the techno-savvy of his Feed, the horror themes of Thirsty and the sharp humor of Burger Wuss. Thirteen-year-olds Gregory Buchanan and Brian Thatz have accepted an invitation to stay with Gregory's Uncle Max in Vermont over their school's two-week October break. Gregory does not know Max well (he is actually the adoptive father of Max's now-adult cousin, Prudence) but warns Brian that he's 'probably insane. He lives in kind of a different world from the rest of us. You know? The kind of world where electricity is a lot of invisible spiders.' True to horror-story convention, locals urge the boys to turn back as they approach his estate. Max is indeed ominous, and their reception bizarre (why do the servants incinerate the boys' clothing?). Right away, the boys find a board game (from which the novel takes its title) that seems to depict Max's estate but soon new places begin appearing on the board. Gregory and Max learn they are participants in a high-stakes Game run by the so-called Speculant; with characters like an axe-wielding troll and an infuriated elf, portentous place names (the Ceremonial Mound, the Hill of Shadow) hard-to-discover rules and riddles, the Game proceeds like an elaborate computer fantasy adventure. Anderson keeps the tension high even as he cuts it with colorful prose and an insightful motif involving the boys' friendship. Dexterously juggling a seemingly impossible profusion of elements, the author builds to a climactic series of surprises that, exploding like fireworks, will almost certainly dazzle readers. Ages 9-12. (July) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the bestselling author of "Freed" comes a fantastic middle-grade adventure. When Brian and Gregory arrive at a distant relative's strange manse, they stumble upon a board game and suddenly they became players and must deal with attitudinal trolls and warring kingdoms.