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The Hunchback Assignments Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Slade, Arthur
ISBN: 0375854037     ISBN-13: 9780375854033
Publisher: Ember
    OUR PRICE: $8.09  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: August 2010
* Not available - Not in print at this time *Annotation: A gripping new series combines Steampunk, spying, and a fantastic Victorian London.

The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a child in a traveling freak show. Modo is a hunchback with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, and Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself. When he encounters Octavia Milkweed, another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockword Guild behind the murders of important men. Furthermore, a mad scientist is turning orphan children into automatons to further the goals of the Guild. Modo and Octavia journey deep into the tunnels under London and discover a terrifying plot against the British government. It’s up to them to save their country.

From the Hardcover edition.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Disfigured persons; Fiction.
Shapeshifting; Fiction.
Spies; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2008054378
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Series: Hunchback Assignments
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.50" W x 0.50" (0.50 lbs) 278 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): >Arthur Slade has published several novels for young readers, including Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival, Megiddo’s Shadow, Tribes, and Dust, which won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with his wife, Brenda Baker. Visit him on the Web at

From the Hardcover edition.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring)
Modo, a boy with a shape-shifting face, is raised in seclusion in alternate-Victorian London to be an agent for calculating Mr. Socrates. Thrust into a treacherous situation about which he knows nothing, Modo finds himself and agent Octavia Milkweed responsible for the lives of helpless children. Felicitous turns of phrase and lots of heart amidst cold-blooded exploits make this a page-turner. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2009 September #2)

Calling to mind elements of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein, Slade (Jolted: Newton Starker's Rules for Survival) presents a thrilling tale of an unusual and talented young man caught between two idealistic, ruthless organizations. Fourteen-year-old hunchback Modo has been raised from infancy by Mr. Socrates to use his shape-shifting abilities in service to the Permanent Association, secretive defenders of the status quo in Slade's steampunk Victorian England. Opposing the Permanent Association is the Clockwork Guild, whose hubristic ambitions are untempered by mercy or decency. Together with fellow agent Octavia Milkweed, Modo must discover why the guild is kidnapping and brainwashing—or worse—children and the scions of the upper class. Although Modo is too innocent to truly understand his situation, Slade makes it clear that Mr. Socrates' exploitation of the teenage agents undermines their effectiveness and mirrors the willingness of the guild to treat people as tools. With its self-loathing hero and exploration of themes of identity and self, the novel is more than the straightforward adventure it may appear. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)

[Page 50]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2009 December)

Gr 6–10—What do you get when you combine elements of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? You get this exciting steampunk adventure. And though Slade borrows from the classics, the story is original and a fun read. Modo, a young hunchback, is rescued from a traveling freak show by the mysterious Victorian Englishman, Mr. Socrates. He is raised in isolation and trained to master his extraordinary physical powers, which include the ability to alter his deformed features and take on any appearance. When he's 13, Mr. Socrates presses him into service on behalf of the Permanent Association, a secret group dedicated to protecting Great Britain, and the teen is plunged headfirst into a race to prevent the government's destruction. Modo, an innocent who is often shocked by the vulgarities of street life, is paired with fellow agent Octavia Milkweed, a rescued urchin whose street smarts complement his immense physical talents. She is at once a partner, a foil, and a possible love interest. The protagonists are likable, the villains are chilling, and the story is action packed. Forays into the raw effluence of London's sewer system provide just enough "ick" factor. And, Slade gets the Victorian setting just right.—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA

[Page 132]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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