holy smokes, what is up with these youthful writers? webb, fan, paolini. geesh, its enough to make a girl in her twenties weep. i had a friend in high school that figured he'd better have his first book published before he was 25 or he would be too old for it to have any significance. i dunno about that, but when i read that "catherine webb was just 14 when she wrote her extraordinary debut, mirror dreams." i can't help but feel a little twinge of jealousy. and i don't even have any designs toward authorship. this blog notwithstanding.
"horatio lyle" is victorian adventure story about cynical inventor/policeman horatio lyle, reformed thief tess (to a mr. hardy she claims her last name to be 'derbyville', wink, wink, nudge, nudge), and an aristocrat in search of some excitement named thomas. together horatio, tess, and thomas must stop a group of supernatural beings known as the tseiqin, which seem to be some sort of fairy/vampire cross, from obtaining the fuyun plate, an object of power that will enable them to take over the world and destroy the human race. it's fairly on the edge of your seat exciting, and if you know kids who enjoy a good adventure story, or who like something with a touch of the supernatural then 'horatio lyle' should be a good recommendation.
as an aside, this book made me think of 'hellboy II: the golden army". in 'hellboy II" we're presented with a villain whose aim is to wipe out all of mankind. however, i found it rather hard to hate him for it, and i thought he actually had a pretty good argument. essentially mankind has so royally messed up the planet that the only way to save the earth is to eliminate man. and although, being a human and marked for extermination i would find it hard to sincerely cheer him on, i also found i didn't entirely disagree. this state of mind echoed the desires of the tseiqin in 'horatio lyle'. the tseiqin desired the destruction of mankind not so much so that they could rule, but so they could halt the environmental destruction they saw happening during the industrial revolution. how can you really argue with that? so yes, the tseiqin may be the bad guys, but i find it hard to view them as entirely reprehensible.