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“Books are the answer to everything,” Addison said. —Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas
Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas
Addison Cooke #1
by Jonathan W. Stokes
Twelve-year-old Addison longs for adventure, but his aunt and uncle, both respected curators at the New York Museum of Archaeology, always leave Addison home when they travel the world to find hidden treasures. When Addison’s aunt and uncle discover an ancient Incan key that leads to treasure, they are kidnaped by the evil Russian Professor Ragar.
Addison convinces his sister, Molly, and two of his friends to set off to South America on a mission to rescue his aunt and uncle. Once they arrive, they find adventure, danger, and booby-traps. Can Addison and his team find the treasure, outsmart Professor Ragar, and save his family?
This fast-paced adventure takes readers on an epic journey through South America. Addison, who is eccentric and optimistic, leads his friends into one dangerous situation after another. Although the group is often in danger and narrowly escapes death several times, the events are often humorous. Even though the group is young, they are able to figure out ancient clues, outsmart Professor Ragar, and escape mercenaries.
Full of mystery, suspense, and evil villains, adventure seekers will keep turning the pages of Addison and the Treasure of the Incas. Young readers will learn about the conquest of Pizarro as they follow the exciting travels of Addison. However, the story is not always historically accurate, and the path the kids take is geography inaccurate. Despite these inaccuracies, the story will pique middle graders’ interest in the Ancient Incan Society and increase their love of reading.
The publisher recommends this book for children as young as eight. Although younger children may enjoy the story, the length of the book and the complexity of the writing would make Addison and the Treasure of the Incas difficult for beginning and struggling readers.
- During the time of the Incas, Pizarro kidnapped Atahualpa. Atahualpa’s, “brother’s army attacked Pizarro before the ransom could be delivered. . . Pizarro burned Atahualpa alive at the stake.”
- Professor Ragar and his mercenaries kidnap Uncle Nigel and his wife. “Immense men in dark suits crowded the room. They held Uncle Nigel pinned down, his face pressed against his desk.”
- During the kidnapping, the mercenaries also try to seize Uncle Nigel’s niece and nephew. There is a chase. The two kids are cornered so they put an electrical cord into water. The mercenary “kicked his foot and the giant floodlight crashed into the water. Electricity jolted through the reflecting pool with a thunderous zap. Bodyguards collapsed like felled oaks, hitting the water in a sizzling, giggling mess.” The men are not seriously hurt, and the kids are able to escape.
- Addison talks about the Spanish Inquisition, when non-Catholics were killed “often by burning them at the stake, like King Atahualpa. People would say they were Catholic to avoid being killed. So the Inquisition would torture them to find out who was telling the truth.”
- The kids go into an ossuary and discover ancient trip wires. Eddie falls “into a vat of skulls, the mummy on top of him. . . The skull bin tilted, pulling an ancient trip wire, releasing a boulder. The falling stone yanked a rope through a pulley, sending a massive scythe blade whipping through the air.” While trying to get up, “Raj sprinted and Eddie followed, their feet dancing across the pile of bones. A massive blade sprung from the ground, splitting every bone in its path.” The boys are not injured.
- When Professor Ragar and his men find the kids in the ossuary, there is a chase. One of the kids pulls a trip wire and a “steel scythe rocketed toward the surprised guard. Terrified, he leapt…striking his head on the rocky ground. The man lay crumpled in a heap of clattering foot bones.” Another man “slipped on a femur, and crashed down the mountain of bones. . . Boulders tumbled from the ceiling, pelting the guard on the head. The man sank to his knees, stunned senseless.”
- When Professor Ragar tries to catch Addison, one of his men, “slashed with his knife. Addison crab-walked backwards on his hands, the knife barely missing his throat.” When Addison is caught, “Ragar wound up his open palm and slapped Addison across the face. Addison’s cheek stung, and his head rang for a few seconds.”
- Zubov, one of Professor Ragar’s men, threatens to cut off Addison’s fingers. “Zubov began squeezing Addison’s windpipe. . . Zubov pressed his knife to Addison’s cheek.” One of Addison’s friends helps him.
- While in the Amazon jungle, Molly is attacked by a giant spotted anaconda that “dropped onto Molly. The ten-foot constrictor wrapped its muscled body around her legs, then waist, and worked its way up her chest.” Someone pokes the anaconda with a flaming brand. “It hissed viciously, tightening its grip on Molly, and wrapped a coil around her throat.” The snake eventually releases Molly.
- The kids are chased by tribesmen who shoot poison-tipped spears and darts at them.
- Don Guzmán is rumored to kill people by putting them in a freezer.
- Don Guzmán locks the kids in a room. In order to escape, Raj “took a running start and swung his plank hard into a man’s stomach. It connected with a satisfying smack, like a Jell-O mold chucked from a high window and meeting the pavement.” The group runs through a wedding where “Guadalupe lay pinned to the dining room table, Zubov’s hand clutching her throat. . . Zubov brushed the hair back from Guadalupe’s neck and ran the blade along the fold of her ear.” The kids are able to escape.
- The kids, Ragar, and Zubov have a conflict during the wedding of Don Guzmán’s daughter. Zubov “gripped his stiletto and stabbed at Addison. Addison leapt back, but too late—the knife struck him square in the chest. He fell to the ground, stunned. . . “ Rager stops Zubov from killing Addison, because he doesn’t want to upset Don Guzmán. During their escape, Molly landed “a well-placed kick right in the guard’s stomach.”
- As the kids are fleeing, they steal a limousine, but they are followed. Eddie smashes the limousine into a jeep and they are able to pull ahead. Eddie “plowed directly through a supermarket. The limousine smashed through the front window and into the cereal aisle. It crashed through frozen foods and baked goods before blasting out the rear wall of the store, onto a new street.”
- When one of Ranger’s men try to enter a treasure vault, he triggers a booby trap and is impaled by “spikes like a shish kabob.” A second man “plummeted into the river a hundred feet below with a terrified splash. . . The man’s screams echoed until the trapdoor slid shut.”
- Zubov tries to kill Molly by throwing knives at her. Molly, “wound up and kicked Zubov as hard as she could. This time, she aimed a few feet higher than his shin. . . Zubov turned purple and crumpled to his knees, winching.”
- Ragar ties the kids up with rope, intending to burn them alive. “The flames snapped and jumped, devouring the kindling. Addison felt the growing heat inching closer to his toes . . . the raging flames touched Addison. The cuffs of his pants ignited, the blaze racing up his legs.” The group is able to escape.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Addison sees a “weather-beaten man sipping a bottle of foul-smelling liquid from a brown paper bag.” The man offers Addison the bottle, but Addison declines saying, “Arnold Palmers are as strong as I go.”
- While in South America, Addison and the others see “local women with gold hoops in their noses who drank corn wine from gourds . . .” Later, the kids see women “drinking white rum.”
- While in South America, Addison sees women selling voodoo dolls.
- The kids see a mural painted with angels and “dozens of Incan gods. Some gods were male and some female. Some were part jaguar, llama, or snake.”
- The Incas considered King Atahualpa a god. “The Incan emperor was considered the child of the sun. Inti, the sun god, the most powerful Incan god.”