Sarah's Stars

David Gilman. The Devil's Breath
Delacorte $21.95  ISBN 978-0-385-66513-1  390 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

!Koga peered over the edge, down into the face of evil. A malignant stench and the first spray of water and vapor barreled upwards, concealing the huge tide of water charging behind it.

The mist billowed towards him; a few more seconds and the fog would envelope Max and the water would swallow him. Panic blinded !Koga to his own danger. His friend was hurt; in a moment he would die, and he couldn't help him. He screamed Max's name, but his cry was swallowed up in the roar from below; the cloud was almost on him.

In horror he saw Max's hands slip off the wet rock, saw him tumble backwards into space, arms wide, spread-eagled, looking up, straight into !Koga's eyes.

And then Max vanished into the storm below.

Fifteen-year-old Max Gordon always lead a life tinged with adventure, especially at his excitingly vigorous high school that has a main focus on physical fitness. But when an attempted assassination turns into a dangerous trip to Africa, Max isn't so sure if he can keep up with all the craziness...or keep himself alive for that matter. Max's father has gone missing in Africa, but clues point to the fact that it wasn't an accident. Tim Gordon knows something he shouldn't know, and now an evil businessman is convinced that Max knows something too. As the trail of cryptic messages leads Max deeper into the heart of the African wilderness, he isn't sure whom to trust, except for three friends who have been thrust into the deadly adventure with him. Sayid, the genius computer hacker is helping to keep Max's information safe back in England, Kallie who can't help but be concerned when someone tries to kill her too, and !Koga, the agile son of a native African Bushman is Max's personal guide to the land. Soon the race is on, as Max Gordon struggles to survive through numerous murder plots, exciting plane rides, hungry wildlife, the pounding heat of the African sun and a horrific area in the wilderness called the Devil's Breath. And if Max can't get to his father in time, a poisonous plague will be unleashed upon the people of Namibia. Can Max do it? Well, if he can survive, the adrenalin rush just might get him through the Danger Zone in one piece.

The Devil's Breath takes you into an exciting, fast-paced adventure into the hot African wilderness and the dark heart of a cruel businessman's empire. Of course, the book is written to appeal to boys, specifically ages 12-15, and it does a wonderful job. Both the middle-school adventurer, as well as the high school teenager looking for book report fodder, can enjoy Maxís adventures. The strong female character of Kallie helped me as a girl relate to the story a little bit more, but to be honest, I wouldn't normally have picked up a book like this. I'm not saying itís a bad book, in fact, I actually rather enjoyed it. I'm just pointing out that The Devil's Breath is to boys as The Princess Diaries are to girls. But I'm sure there are many adventurous females out there who would devour a book such as this. Anyways, the book is very well written. David Gilman has a rhythm with words that is very comfortable to read and so, even if the story isn't as desirable to some as it is to others, the novel still manages to draw you in with its smart dialogue and gritty descriptions.

The Devil's Breath is action-packed, exciting and certain to please anyone of the male species, and it will manage to woo a few of the girls too. I give David Gilman's The Devil's Breath four out of five stars.


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