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The Seven Professors of the Far North

Review

The Seven Professors of the Far North

THE SEVEN PROFESSORS OF THE FAR NORTH is an exciting adventure tale, rippled with inventive and surprising technology. It begins when 11-year-old Sam Carnabie is invited to spend his Easter holidays with an old friend of his parents, Professor Ampersand. Professor Ampersand, an inventor, has dozens of interesting contraptions, from a motorcycle built for four to an oven-boiler that heats water at the same time that it cooks food. Professor Ampersand's great niece and nephew, Ben and Zara, are delighted to show Sam all the innovative delights their house has to offer.

No sooner have they finished dinner on the very first night of Sam's visit, however, than an urgent message arrives, quickly followed by five of Professor Ampersand's former colleagues. Together with another scientist, Professor Murdo, they were once responsible for trying to found a top-level university at Nordberg, a tiny island in the far north. However, when Professor Murdo's unethical experiments came to light, he decided to flee, taking his six colleagues with him and abandoning them in a huge field of snow and ice. Only a secret known to one of them, a secret they've all promised never to reveal, got them home safely. When Professor Murdo's private soldiers show up a few hours later and kidnap all six professors, Sam, Ben and Zara are left with only a confusing clue to the secret and their unwavering determination as they set off to find the professors and unmask Murdo's frightening scheme.

The three children's surprising and exciting adventures are at the heart of the rest of the book as they wend their way north to the island of Nordberg. Alternating with scenes from the life of another girl, Marcia, who ends up in Professor Murdo's clutches for entirely different reasons, the story of Ben, Zara and Sam's escapades are edge-of-your-seat exciting, but always plausible in the context of the story.  Fardell's world of surprising inventions means that the reader is constantly making new discoveries right along with the kids in the story. Although based in fact and science rather than fantasy, Fardell's world building is on a par with the Harry Potter books --- in fact, THE SEVEN PROFESSORS OF THE FAR NORTH reminded me more of the spirit of Harry Potter than any of the numerous copycat fantasy books spawned since the young wizard's success.

Each of the three children brings his or her own skills to the adventure --- Sam's preparedness, Ben's map-reading abilities, Zara's boldness --- and each of them comes up with innovative ideas when they're most needed, usually just in the nick of time. As the book approaches its exciting conclusion, it's easy to believe that their adventures have helped Sam, Ben and Zara develop the courage they need to confront Professor Murdo.

From start to finish, John Fardell's THE SEVEN PROFESSORS OF THE FAR NORTH is a delight to read.

Reviewed by Paula Jolin on September 8, 2005

The Seven Professors of the Far North
by John Fardell

  • Publication Date: September 8, 2005
  • : 192 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
  • ISBN-10: 039924381X
  • ISBN-13: 9780399243813