Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Operation Storm City

Operation Storm City

Joshua Mowll
Illustrator:   Joshua Mowll  , Benjamin Mowll , Julek Heller , Niroot Puttapipat 
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Candlewick, 2009   ISBN: 978-0763642242

A year or so ago, Becca and Doug MacKenzie’s parents went on a so-called cartographic expedition to the Sinkiang region of China and they disappeared. After getting into a certain amount of trouble in various boarding schools, the siblings are sent to live with their uncle, Captain MacKenzie, on his ship, the Expedient. Not long after joining their uncle, Becca and Doug learn that their parents were members of a secret organization called The Guild of Specialists. For years the members of the Guild have been trying to unravel the ancient secrets of the Tembla Cult, secrets that have been passed down through the generations.

Doug and Becca discover that the Tembla people lived long ago and that they created a machine that has the potential to wipe out life on earth. Long ago the Tembla did in fact try to use their machine and almost made humans extinct in the process. Wanting to keep the machine out of the hands of those who would use it unwisely, the Tembla hid their technology carefully. All was well until Alexander the Great invaded northern India. Not wanting their general to get his hands on the Tembla knowledge, a group of Greeks divided up The 99 Elements (the Tembla documentation) and their instruments (four gyrolabes) and sent them into four directions.

For thousands of years The 99 Elements and the gyrolabes have been safely hidden, but now evil powers are eager to bring them back together so that they can use the ancient Tembla machine to gain extraordinary power. Becca and Doug now understand that their parents were trying to prevent this from happening by seeking out the ancient site where the Tembla machine is located. Having survived ill treatment at the hands of a pirate, a typhoon, and many other adventures, the MacKenzies are now on their own again. They have run away and are determined to get to Sinkiang to try to find their parents.

The young adventurers barely begin their journey when then encounter their enemies once again. For the first time they finally understand how much is at stake. If they don’t find a way to stop their enemies, millions of people will die. All the teens want to do is to find their parents, but a bigger challenge needs their attention first, one which could cost them their lives.

In this final Guild of Specialists title, the story of Becca and Doug MacKenzie is brought to a very satisfying close. Mysteries are revealed and we, alongside the young adventurers, come to appreciate the legacy that they have inherited, a legacy that comes with terrible dangers.

With great skill, Joshua Mowll has weaved fact and fiction together to give his readers a story that is gripping and quite fascinating. The text is accompanied by Doug’s sketches, maps, diagrams, photos, and more. These other elements make the story even more realistic, and at times readers will imagine that what they are reading really did happen.