Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I, Q Book One: Independence Hall by Roland Smith

Independence Hall: Book 1 in the new series I, Q by Roland Smith

I would like to start by describing a few of the major & minor characters from Roland Smith’s new book I, Q. (While I’m describing them, try to identify any genre clues I may have included.)

Quest: he is about 13 years old. He goes by the nickname of Q. Quest is highly intelligent and can do magic.

Angela: she is Q’s stepsister. She was told her real mom died four years ago. A stranger has recently informed her that there may be a 50/50 chance that her mom might still be alive.

Blaze and Roger: Recently married, Blaze is now Angela’s stepmom. Roger is now Quest’s stepdad. They are famous musicians. They are about to start a tour to promote their new band called Match. They try to protect Quest and Angela from the negative aspects of their fame, but the paparazzi are relentless.

Crockett, Croc for short: He is a Blue Heeler/Border Collie mix. He has several missing teeth. One of his eyes is brown, the other is a really weird blue. When you look at it it seems like the blue eye is seeing right through you. Q’s mom swears Croc looks just like a dog she knew 15 years ago, right down to the missing teeth and weird blue eye, but that’s impossible, most dogs don’t live that long, right?

Tyrone Boone, people just call him Boone: He is a thin, tan, wrinkled man with long gray hair braided half-way down his back. He’s so wrinkled that Q thinks he looks like a desert tortoise that’s misplaced his shell. He conveniently appears in the story exactly when the family's coach bus breaks down. Boone likes Ian Fleming novels from the 50’s. Q probably thinks Boone has refused to join the 21st century, content to reminisce about his old glory days. Although Q probably thinks Boone seems out of step with today's world, how does Q explain Boone's wicked cell phone, a Blackberry more advanced than he has ever seen? And why does Boone insist Angela and Q go to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed?

Maybe I have you thinking this book is a mystery. Maybe it sounds like a realistic or historical fiction book with a little adventure thrown in. I’ve probably oversimplified or overgeneralized the characters somewhat, perhaps misleading you a bit, but the element of misdirection is one of the chief characteristics of Spy Thrillers after all. Let me fill you in.

Angela’s mom worked for the Secret Service. She not only served on the team to protect the President, but she also helped the CIA and FBI. She was a counter-terrorism specialist. She was the best in the world at exposing terrorist sleeper cells in the United States until she was declared legally dead.

Boone: he speaks with a Southern drawl, except when he’s on his cell phone. He’s former CIA. He says that he's not entirely sure why, but he knows that at least two Israeli Mossad agents are following Angela and Q. By the way, Boone was the one that told Angela that her mom could possibly be alive.

Can Angela and Q trust Boone? How are the Israeli agents able to track their every move? Do the step-parents know, or even care, what's going on? If Angela's mom is alive, why would she allow her daughter to suffer through such a loss and allow her husband to marry another woman?

Of course there are some elements of other genres in this book, but if you like a spy story with suspense, then I would recommend Roland Smith’s new book to you.

(Spy Thriller characteristics: danger, foreshadowing, erroneous path-the author gives clues to the reader that sometimes lead in a false directions, escape from danger seems impossible, larger issues or enemies at work, crimes are on a larger scale, hero must thwart the plans of a villain, action or inaction must be decided on, etc...)

Note to teachers: I would recommend the study guide on foreshadowing at the I, Q website.

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