Well . . . it's different! And it's a lot of fun. We are definitely not in Kansas. We are, however, "at the dawn of the twenty-first century" in North Dublin, where we meet Master Artemis Fowl. He is descended from a long line of legendary lawbreakers and is a criminal mastermind himself. He is a kidnapper, a conniver, a computer genius . . . and he loves his mother. He is 12 years old.
His father is missing, his mother is temporarily out of her head with grief, and that leaves Artemis out of school and free to skedaddle about the globe with his trusty, bonded-to-him-for-life manservant, Butler (an avid Guns and Ammo reader), on a spree to refill the family coffers with fairy gold, thereby restoring the Fowl family fortune to its billionaire status, a status that was plunged into jeopardy by his father's bad investments and involvement with the Russian Mafia just before his ship was blown to bits along with Butler's uncle and 250,000 cans of cola. Whew! Let me catch my breath.
Enter Holly Short (the kidnappee), generally known as a fairy, technically an elf, also a leprechaun, "but that was just a job." Holly is a renegade member of LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elements Police. Fairies, trolls, goblins, gnomes, sprites and pixies live a rich underground life all around the globe, their existence unbeknownst to humans. But Artemis has discovered the People (such a precocious lad) and has cracked their code. He knows secrets. He devises a plan that could "topple civilizations and plunge the planet into a cross-species war." Does he do it? Do Holly and her crack team of commandos curb Artemis Fowl? Do we all wake up in the morning? The cantankerous cast of characters includes a troll with a monumental case of flatulence and more high-tech gadgets than a dozen James Bond movies. This is a raucous romp through Irishman Eoin Colfer's imaginative world, where ulterior motives are the order of the day and we are promised that this spectacle will continue "across several decades" (and a movie in 2002) and that our antihero will continue to win some, lose some, but always come back for more, "after eighteen solid hours of sleep and a light continental breakfast."
Deborah Wiles' first two books for children, Freedom Summer and Love, Ruby Lavender, were published this spring.