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Bobby Pendragon, 14-year-old cosmic hero, was last seen plunging through a flume with his Uncle Press, traveling to another territory (planet? dimension? time?), leaving his nerdy best friend Mark and his jockish girlfriend Courtney to wait, wonder, and read the journals that he occasionally sends them. His parents, his sister, his dog, and their whole house had vanished into nowhere. Not much of a welcome back from his first death-defying trip to another world (reality? universe?) in The Merchant of Death, in which Bobby experienced danger, warfare, responsibility for the fate of millions, failure, triumph, the death of a friend, and an unresolved vendetta with the Evil One himself: Saint Dane.
While Mark and Courtney deal with this thrilling secret (and have their own adventures involving a blackmailing bully who finds out about everything), the adventure really belongs to Pendragon and Uncle Press. This time they have gone to the water-covered world of Cloral, where folks live on floating habitats and do all their farming, travel, recreation, and industrial work in, on, or under the water. So soon after his own rude awakening, Pendragon is the one who has to break it to another young Traveler to explain that his whole life has been turned upside down, and he has been drafted into the ultimate battle between Good and Evil.
The other new Traveler a cool guy named Spader doesn’t take the news very well. It isnt that he objects to being a traveler; but since his father, the Traveler for Cloral before him, was killed by Saint Dane, Spader has his own score to settle. And while Saint Dane sets in motion a chain of events that could plunge all of Cloral into chaos forever, it is all Bobby can do to keep Spader from rushing after their elusive enemy and getting himself killed.
Pendragon needs all the help he can get from his uncle and from his old friend Loor to help Spader make the transition. But there isnt much time. A legendary lost city is discovered right at the point when it can make the difference between life or death for the whole territory. And Saint Dane is going to do all that lies within his considerable powers to tip the balance toward death.
This story is exciting, full of appealing characters, thrilling imagery, and knock-me-down action. Bobbys journey from being a freaked-out kid to being the leader in the last, critical war against Saint Dane is adorned with all the charms of aquatic adventure, sci-fi nightmare, fairy-tale splendor, and classic tragedyyou know, the kind where you have to agree that it was meant to be this way. It even introduces a new sport that I predict will be all the rage in a few years. It all makes me look forward longingly to the date when I can afford to buy the next book in the series, titled The Never War.