Thursday, April 7, 2011

Attack at the Arena by Marianne Herring and Paul McCusker - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Tyndale)
Patrick and Beth learn that Mr. Whittaker’s fancy ring can be seen inside the Imagination Station but not outside of the machine. A mysterious letter leads the cousins to fifth-century Rome in search of a special cup that belongs to a monk. If found, the cup could keep the mysterious Albert out of prison.

At the Roman Colosseum, Emperor Honorius is hosting a gladiator battle in celebration of a war victory. Beth attends the event as the emperor’s slave; Patrick attends as a monk’s apprentice but is taken prisoner and sent to fight in the arena. During their adventure, the cousins meet Telemachus (a true historical figure), a monk who believes that fighting is wrong. Telemachus is willing to risk everything—even his life—to stop the killing. When the cousins return with the cup, they find that a third letter has been sent with more information about Albert’s fate.

My Thoughts:

The second book in the Imagination Station series is a heart-stopping ride the entire way! Attack at the Arena takes Beth and Patrick into one of history’s most dangerous and barbaric places – the Roman arena! Once again, these two cousins are sent from Mr. Whitaker’s home on a quest for another ancient artifact. Another mysterious note has appeared inside the Imagination Station, and the request seems most urgent! The artifact from the previous adventure has disappeared, and everyone learns who is making these requests of Mr. Whitaker.

This time Hering and McCusker place the two cousins in imminent danger almost from the first page! Young readers will be eager to keep reading as every chapter seems to take Patrick and Beth further into danger and further away from the artifact they seek! As the end of the story nears, both cousins find that they have friends in very unexpected places – unexpected to everyone but God! (good ‘ole Telemachus!)

The ending held a surprise visitor which seems to be an important key to the next adventure. Every indication is that the cousins will soon be headed to China! It’s a good thing readers only have to wait until May for the next two books in the series!

About the Authors:
Paul McCusker is the creative content director for Focus on the Family. He has been a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and drama since 1979. His work includes over forty published novels, full-length plays, dramatic sketch collections, and song lyrics. For the Adventures in Odyssey series alone, he has written over 200 half-hour radio episodes, eighteen novels, and two screenplays for the best-selling animated videos. He has dramatized many classics for Focus on the Family Radio Theatre, including A Christmas Carol and Jan Karon's At Home in Mitford. He also wrote and directed the Peabody Award–winning Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom and created the highly acclaimed Father Gilbert Mysteries series. Paul lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children.

Marianne Hering is a prolific writer, having written hundreds of articles and a number of books for children and parents. For nine years she worked for several magazines in Focus on the Family's periodicals department and became the editor of Clubhouse, a Focus on the Family children's magazine with a circulation of over 100,000.

Marianne's book titles include two series for girls (Lights, Camera, Action; and White House Adventures) and a recent biography of William Bradford. Her most recent title is a compilation of activities from Clubhouse magazine, the Focus on the Family Clubhouse Family Activity Book.

As a mother of three children, Marianne is interested in parenting and education issues, including home schooling and tutoring reading. She graduated from Biola University (La Mirada, California) with a degree in psychology and has continued her education with courses in writing and editing. She and her husband, Doug, live in Colorado with their nine-year-old daughter, Danielle, and two-year-old twin sons, Justin and Kendrick.

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