Who wrote this book and when?
Jonathan Mowll published this in 2005.

Has there been a film version?
No, but I can see them making one.

Who are the important characters?
Rebecca Mackenzie – a young girl who has been passed from relative to relative after her parents disappeared in a Chinese desert, she is a writer, an expert fencer, and very tenacious
Doug Mackenzie – Rebecca’s brother, an artist, also independent and assertive
Captain Fitzroy Mackenzie – Doug and Rebecca’s uncle, the captain of the research ship the Expedient
Sheng Fat – a Chinese warlord

What’s it about?
Rebecca and Doug Mackenzie have now been passed off to their uncle as they make their way through various relatives when their parents go missing in a Chinese desert. Now, aboard his scientific research ship, they are finding more adventure and a few clues to what their parents were involved with. However, Captain Mackenzie and the children have troubles of their own when they give shelter to a famous scientist wanted for murder and also tangle with a Chinese warlord and a mysterious man in a white linen suit. And along the way, Rebecca and Doug are desperate to learn more about the elusive Guild of Specialists, which is linked to their parents’ disappearance.

Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
I don’t know that it’s either.

Do I recommend you read this book?
Yes. It’s a good young adult/juvenile fiction book.

How did this book make my list?
I saw the second book on the shelf at the library and thought it was a Bible b/c it looked almost leather bound. But I was surprised to find it was part of a series, so I checked out the first book in the series. A classic case of judging a book to possibly be good by its cover.

Has it won any awards?
No, I don’t think so.

Favorite quotes:
Unfortunately, I couldn’t mark any b/c I can’t find my book clips and I couldn’t bring myself to dog-ear the pages. Sorry.

Anything else?

Personal thoughts:
I had no idea what this book was going to be about when I picked it up and started it – having never heard of it, nor gathered much from the blurb on the back cover. I was, however, highly impressed when I hit my first set of illustrations and fold out blueprint. This book is written in a similar manner to the Lemony Snicket books, but with drastically different content and tone. The author claims a relation to the main characters and has been given the task of chronicling the history of The Guild of Specialists, to whom his ancestors have belonged. So we hear how his grandmother and great uncle became members (Rebecca and Doug). The story is interesting enough and the illustrations are amazing. I always have a bit of a bad attitude towards books that claim to be real when they are not. This book put that aside nearly immediately with its charm and sincerity. Not that this is a real story, mind you, but still a great read. But, if you check this book out, be sure to get the hardcover copy. šŸ™‚