Friday, 26 April 2013

Mr Ripley's One to Watch: Aesop's Secret By Claudia White - May 2013

At the age of ten, Melinda Hutton enjoys a dreamy world where she imagines transforming into animals. Her brother, serious minded, twelve-year old Felix scoffs when their mother, Elaine, explains that to transform is normal for Athenites. She explains that their ancestry is often disguised in stories and fables, but it isn’t until their father Jake demonstrates this talent that they begin to understand that their ancestry is anything but mythical…
 Felix looked horrified as he stared at the wolf in his father’s clothing. While Melinda had greeted her father’s transformation with delight, Felix had turned a ghostly white and his mouth hung open as he gasped for breath. He looked like he might faint, throw up or both. Instead, he stood up,
moved backwards then ran out of the room and out of the house.
Understanding their heritage is only one of the challenges that Melinda and Felix must contend as they discover that treachery and greed impact their family’s lives. Melinda uses the skills of her ancestors (with strange and less than perfect results) to uncover Professor Horace Stumpworthy’s frightening plans…
Melinda panted under the heavy fabric of her bed clothes. She was dizzy after the quickest transformation of her life, leaving her feeling the way she might have having plummeted down in an elevator after the cable snapped. Her heart was racing as the floor vibrated while the professor walked closer. An involuntary shiver rippled along the length of her rabbit-shaped body and a single droplet of sweat trickled down her tiny freckled human face. She knew that if he turned on the lights he would see the pile of clothing and it would take only a second or two to discover her underneath.
Professor Stumpworthy’s brilliance in using his Athenite skills has made him a rich and powerful man. He had exploited humans, as well as his own kind, with ease until the Huttons got in the way…
Feeling the professor go limp, Melinda released her grip and leapt free while Felix leaned closer to the professor’s prone body. “There you go Professor…Burungo, the strongest sedative known to modern science.” But the professor didn’t stay quiet for long. His body writhed and shrank; white hairs exploded out of his skin, covering his entire body. Felix pushed backwards as the professor melted into a furry mass. Seconds later all that was left of him was a small white animal now occupying the space where he had fallen. It was only then that Felix noticed Joe kneeling alongside. Joe smiled as he held up a tiny syringe. “So it really does work,” he said in amazement. “Let that be a lesson to all of us to stay as far away from Wolfbane as we possibly can.”
 Publisher: MP Publishing (14 May 2013)

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