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The Merchant of Death


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About the Author

DJ McHale is the writer/creator of Nickelodeon's wildly successful children's horror show 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?'. He lives in Marina Del Rey, California.


Gr 5-8-TV writer D.J. MacHale's adventure novel (Aladdin, 2002) about teen jock Bobby Pendragon turned world savior morphs into a fairly respectable audio production, thanks to actor William Dufris's charmingly boyish reading. In the first book of a projected quartet, Bobby loves his life as a typical suburban 14 year old, except for his annoying ability to move between worlds and travel through a "flume" hidden deep in the bowels of a South Bronx subway to the alternate universe of Denduron, land of three suns. Bobby's frantic letters from Denduron back to his two friends reveal a reluctant hero struggling with a mission thrust upon him by unseen forces. The predictable plot and two-dimensional characters are rescued from mediocrity by Dufris (the original voice of TV's Bob the Builder) who does a good job with the snappy dialogue. Although predictable, the action-packed adventure would be perfect for reluctant readers or those who need their fantasy based partly on Earth.-Celeste Steward, Alameda County Library, Fremont, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

The popular fantasy time-travel series makes a smooth transition to audio with Dufris at the helm, using his upbeat delivery and believable teen rhythms to keep listeners enthralled. Bobby Pendragon, 14, thinks he's a pretty normal kid, worried about his next basketball game and his almost-girlfriend. But then Uncle Press changes everything by telling Bobby that he is a Traveler, capable of transporting through time via magical flumes. This first trip sends him to Denduron, a medieval realm in the middle of a revolution. Bobby's challenges there are dangerous and many, and he keeps his best friend at home (on "Second Earth"), Mark, apprised of his adventures with mystically relayed letters. Fans of the books will want to hear Dufris's gripping interpretation; newcomers will quickly get hooked. In addition to this recording, Brilliance has simultaneously released Pendragon titles two through six, just in time for summer listening. Ages 10-14. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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