Synopses & Reviews
A sister and brother's search for their missing parents uncovers a mysterious secret society in an action-filled sea-and-land saga centered in 1920s Shanghai.
For Joshua Mowll, it was the surprise of a lifetime. There, among the archives inherited from his great-aunt Rebecca MacKenzie, was a 1920s journal recounting the thrilling and dangerous adventures of fifteen-year-old Rebecca and her younger brother, Doug, in the wake of their parents' mysterious disappearance in the deserts of China. Now carefully re-created in a lavish volume — complete with cloth binding and a journal-style elastic clasp — the siblings' tale begins aboard the Expedient, their uncle's enigmatic research ship, and moves at a breathless pace through the streets of Shanghai and on to a terrifying island fortress. Along the way, Doug and Becca encounter an ancient order of Chinese mercenaries, a brutal pirate warlord, a feisty Texan heiress, and a stolen cache of a volatile explosive called zoridium. By their saga's end, the intrepid duo has exposed a murderous plot involving their parents and uncovered a high-minded secret society hidden from the world for hundreds of years. Interspersed are such "archival" elements as:
— elaborate diagrams and maps
— vintage photos and illustrations
— documents with stamps, seals, and watermarks
— four full-color gatefolds, the largest a six-page foldout
— extensive appendices and notes
Painstakingly researched and packed with authentic detail, OPERATION RED JERICHO is the first of three nonstop-action tales of intrigue by first-time author Joshua Mowll — historical fiction at its finest.
"Mowll's intriguing debut novel introduces siblings Becca and Doug. An opening 'note to the reader' adds an air of authenticity to the fiction by identifying the author as heir to his deceased great-aunt (Becca), who had requested that he finish putting her 'archive into a publishable form.' Set in 1920, the elaborately plotted saga opens in Shanghai, as Becca and Doug (whose parents disappeared a year ago during a mysterious expedition to western China) arrive at a research ship captained by their uncle, their newly appointed guardian. Also on board is a French scientist who had been kidnapped by a Chinese warlord and forced to create torpedoes using a powerful explosive. The teens explore the ship in hopes of discovering why their uncle is so secretive about his South China Sea mission, and discover messages outlining the man's assignment from the board of the 'Honourable Guild of Specialists,' an organization whose raison d'tre readers learn only at tale's end. Inquisitive, impulsive Doug and cautious, thoughtful Becca play key roles in accomplishing the complex task, which entails a dramatic showdown with the warlord. Becca's diary entries and sidebars with background information supplement the narrative, along with drawings from Doug's sketchbook, cutaway views of the ship, maps and foldout pages marked 'Confidential Material.' As the energetically paced story winds down, Becca and Doug make a pact to search for their parents, setting the scene for book two of the planned Guild Trilogy. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Painstakingly researched and packed with authentic detail,
This first of three tales begins the story of a sister and brother, who while searching for their missing parents in 1920s Shanghai, uncover a mysterious secret society. Includes maps, documents, four full-color gatefolds, and extensive appendices and notes.
About the Author
Joshua Mowll has worked as a graphic artist for the MAIL ON SUNDAY since 1994. During that time he has illustrated and drawn everything from space flights, medical procedures, and airplane crashes to ancient pyramid theories, invasions, and laser-guided weaponry. Of Southeast Asian pirates, one of the plot elements in OPERATION RED JERICHO, he says, "The word pirates immediately conjures up images of the Caribbean, Blackbeard, and buried treasure. But for sheer scale and professionalism, Chinese and Southeast Asian piracy has a much longer and more notorious history." Joshua Mowll lives in London. OPERATION RED JERICHO is his first book.