Monday, May 03, 2010


The Remarkable Adventures of Tom Scatterhorn

: The Museum's Secret (Publisher Review)

by Henry Chancellor

This book is on the face of it in the vein of the Night at the Museum movies - Tom Scatterhorn's father seems to go a little bonkers, and then disappears, so tom is sent to live with his aunt and uncle while his mother goes to find his father. They live, of course, in the strange, spooky old Scatterhorn Museum, where strange, spooky things seem to be afoot.

This is not enough, however, so there is also a portal to the past, which may also be played out in a scale model of the town at that time, some 100 years ago, when the museum was first being built and opened by Sir Henry Scatterhorn and his genius taxidermist friend, August Catcher.

Add to this also a strange life-giving serum, "the divine spark" and a pair of odd characters who also seem to be traveling through time hunting for the bottle and ready to destroy Tom for it, some strange goings-on in Mongolia that involve Tom's parents, and the second-largest uncut sapphire in the world, and you have a LOT going on in this book.

It's not short, but it's packed, and it feels like a few threads were left untied at the end. Whether this spells sequel or just the fact that it was too much to keep track of is really not clear, but i could hardly blame the author for dropping one or two lesser plotlines, given the number that do find themselves neatly wound up.

The book did not immediately grab me, to be honest, but after a few chapters, began to pick up, when Tom begins to wander the museum a bit and you get a sense of where this is going. Once it does get going, there is plenty of suspense and action, though I did at times find it confusing with the hopping around in time and the references to the town model and the large eagle that seems to go unexplained even at the end. It had large sections that were great fun, but I think this is one for a dedicated reader or one really looking for a time travel or museum adventure.

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