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Attack of the Volcano Monkeys (Ordinary Basil) by Wiley Miller
Review by Paul Haggerty
The Blue Sky Press Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780439861328
Date: 01 February 2008 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

It was a dark and stormy night when the mysterious stranger left young Basil on the doorstep of his home. He'd been gone two weeks. His mother had been frantic. And now he was safe again. But not for long. For the start of the book is the middle of the adventure. A quest to a far off and terribly strange land. A mission that doesn't go quite according to plan. Here at the nadir of the story, Basil regroups and charges back into the fray. There are friends to save, innocents to rescue, and evils to vanquish, all on a volcanic island hidden in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The year is 1899, a time when anything was still possible, when mysteries hid behind every fog bank, mountain, and cloud. Twelve-year-old Basil Pepperell thinks of himself as quite an ordinary boy, and while ordinary boys may seek adventure, adventure usually eludes them. But there's far more to Basil than meets the eye.

And those special qualities have caught the attention of the citizens of Helios, a hidden city that floats amongst the clouds where music and highly advanced science are nearly interchangeable. Chief amongst those interested in Basil's abilities is Louise, a young girl of about his age.

Together with Beatrice, Louise's pet pteranodon, Basil and Louise fly off to visit Monkey Island. It's just a light-hearted trip to see something fun and wonderful. And of course they arrive right in the middle of a civil war.

While Monkey Island is suppose to be a sanctuary, evil Dr. Von Rottweil has installed himself as ruler of the island. Unfortunately, he's such a rotter that a rebellion has been formed amongst the monkey population to oust him once and for all. And nobody seems to be sure of just who is friend and who is foe. Now Louise and Beatrice are captured and Basil and Von Rottweil are forced to work together. Only the deepest secrets of Monkey Island past will be able to stop the war before all is lost. But can Basil fit the pieces of the puzzle together in time? And just how far can one trust such an evil villain as Rottweil?

Written by Wiley Miller, creator of the syndicated comic strip Non Sequitur, Attack of the Volcano Monkeys has an exciting storyline and full-color illustrations on nearly every page. It's a whimsical and quirky romp though a combination of Edger Rice Burroughs' Africa, with at least three hidden civilizations per square mile, and mad scientists of the Victorian era. Basil throws himself into his adventures with all his heart, because that's what you do when you're faced with evil.

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