Wrath of the Lizard Lord by Jon Mayhew
Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408826324
(Age: 7-12 years) Recommended. This is the second offering by Mayhew in the Monster Odyssey series and continues the story of the Indian Prince Dakkar, his mentor Oginski and a cast of characters including giants and monstrous man-eating reptiles with a strong resemblance to dinosaurs. With more than a passing nod to Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, readers of this offering could be encouraged to try these classics in an attempt to compare.
Beginning on the Isle of Elba in 1815 with a meeting with Napoleon and a glimpse of a reptilian monster, Dakkar and Oginski escape in their submarine, the Nautilus, having to evade giant shark like creatures and make their way to England. Unfortunately Oginski is severely injured and is cared for in Lyme Regis leaving Dakkar to his own resources.
Dakkar meets Mary Anning, fossil hunter, to ask about the claw he found in Elba. Mary tries to evade him after a rockfall and he pursues her, only to find himself deep within the earth with no visible way out. Pursued by giant reptiles, rescued by friendly, giant humans and discovering the stronghold of the evil Stefan Oginski, Count Cryptos, one of the brothers who are bent on conquering the world, Dakkar is determined to return to the surface and defeat Stefan.
Dakkar and Mary go from one life threatening situation to the next in this fast paced improbable adventure where being eaten is a continuous threat and ingenuity and a sound knowledge of explosives a must. Another submarine, a giant squid, not to mention another Napoleon and participating in the Battle of Waterloo, all add to the chaos.
By searching for aspects of Verne, a spot the dinosaur game and researching the historical references, readers can gain more from this book than a fantastic adventure story.