Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ancient Appetites

Ancient Appetites

Oisin McGann
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Open Road Media, 2015   ISBN: 978-1497665705

Nathaniel Wildenstern plans on having a triumphant homecoming. He's been away for almost two years and before going back home to Wildenstern Hall he has decided that he will capture and tame the Beast of Glenmalure. Thanks to his own courage and his cousin Gerald's knowledge, Nathaniel does indeed end up subduing the wild and dangerous velocyle engimal, and he is riding it home feeling very proud of himself when he gets the news that his eldest brother has died in a climbing accident. Suddenly Nate's whole world has been turned upside down.

Nate does not accept that his brother's death was accidental. No one in his family does because of a strange family tradition that the Wildenstern's have – they kill one another to gain power in the family hierarchy. It is an accepted thing to do and they close ranks and cover for one another when such murders are carried out. Nate is convinced that his brother Marcus was killed by one of his power-hungry relatives, and he decides to try to find out which one was responsible.

At the same time Nate's father, the Patriarch, is forcing him to prepare to take over the family business. Though Nate is not the Heir, he is the son who is best suited to run the family business, and his father has decided that Nate will be sent to America to take care of Wildenstern interests there.

A few days after Marcus' death, his funeral is held. Something truly astonishing happens at this event – a bomb goes off and causes utter mayhem. The Wildensterns think that their enemies are responsible and they are furious. However, they are soon set aside their concerns about the bombs because a startling discovery is made. As a result of the explosion, four unaccounted for mummies are recovered in the cemetery. While Gerald is examining them, the desiccated creatures come back to life, and over the next few days three of them slowly heal until they look as alive as they were hundreds of years ago. One of the men is Hugo, a former Wildenstern Patriarch who was so ruthless and hated in his own time that he was murdered – almost.

While Nate tries to find out the truth behind Marcus' murder, the four new family members begin to create a place for themselves in their new world. Gerald meanwhile is eager to find out how it is that his ancestors were able to come back to life and he is convinced that their healing powers are somehow linked to the life forces that are found in engimals. Plots and counter plots swirl around the towers and in the secrets passages of Wildenstern Hall and Nate seriously begins to wonder if he is going to survive. If only he could just ride away from it all on his new velocycle and leave the whole terrible business behind.

The pages of this unique book are packed with living machines, a murderous family, ancient secrets, and lots of adventure and suspense Indeed, once one starts reading about feral motorcycles and a family of people who tolerate - and even encourage - the murder of fathers, uncles, brothers, and cousins, one is well and truly hooked. Unexpected plot twists keep the tension level high throughout the story, and readers had better prepare themselves for plenty of murder and a singular lack of family togetherness.