Friday, August 24, 2012

Outlaw by Stephen Davies

Jake Knight seems to have it all. He's a fifteen-year-old technology whiz who can jump a ten-foot wall with his parkour skills. He's enrolled in a nice British school, and his dad is an ambassador to the small West African country of Burkina Faso. To Jake, Africa is a land of excitement and adventure...and he will soon learn that it is also the land of the Outlaw.

Jake thinks his boarding school life is pretty lame and spends his time playing Geothimble, a scavenger hunt that uses GPS technology.  When Jake's extracurricular activity gets him suspended, he is sent to his father's embassy. Jake could not be happier, but little does he know that he's about to get enough excitement to last a lifetime.

Jake and his sister Kas quickly find themselves kidnapped by a terrorist group. They are held hostage for ransom. At the same time we meet a man who is known as the Chameleon, who uses cunning and illusions to bring justice and hope to the people of his country. He is their version of Robin Hood, and Jake and Kas soon find themselves face-to-face with him.

It turns out that the Chameleon is being framed for their capture. He will attempt to get them back to safety, but it will take spirit, fast wits, and many disguises.

Jake and Kas learn how centuries of European colonization and invading mining industries have sent the people of Burkina Faso into a spiral of powerlessness and corruption. Crime is rampant and, in order to justify its existence, those who are in the seats of power can be just as brutal to the innocent as they are to the guilty.

Outlaw is a breakneck thrill ride that rewards creativity over senseless violence. Though Jake is the main character, the Chameleon provides the true heart of the book. Author Stephen Davies also takes time to explain why he wrote the book and also offers how you can learn some of the cool tricks used in the story, like how to appear to levitate, or where you can download a free ringtone that only teenagers can hear. If you want a fast-paced adventure that also asks some big questions, Outlaw is the book for you.

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