Conspiracy 365: February

(Conspiracy 365: Book Two)

by
Gabrielle Lord

Kane Miller, February 2010, 185 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-935279-50-1

Genre: Young Reader
Subgenres: Thriller
Reviewed: 2/22/2010

Reviewed by: Conan Tigard

Book Cover

Read an Excerpt

19 February

Storm Water Drain

10:53 pm

I knew this scenario too well. I'd faced it plenty of times in the schoolyard. A gang of guys looking for a fight. A fight that they can't lose - three against one.

"What's in that bag?" demanded the sneerer, making a lunge for my backpack. I jumped back quickly, out of his reach.

"And what's in the folder? Give it here!"

I knew this game, too. If I didn't give them what they wanted, they'd jump me and grab it anyway. If I did give them what they wanted, they'd jump me just the same. You can't always talk sense to bullies, Dad once told me.

"Give me that!" barked Scarface.

"No way," I said, taking a step back, putting more distance between me and them, so I'd have more room to move.

"You'd better," said the guy with the shaved head, taking a step towards me.

"Why don't you come here and get it?!" I said, playing for time, my mind working furiously for a strategy. I needed to deal with the leader first. If I could get him down fast, the other two wouldn't be too hard to take care of. I heard Dad's voice in my head: Watch their hands, and you'll see the punch coming before it lands.

"Come on," I taunted, "if you want it so bad, come and get it!"

I glared hard at Scarface, keeping his hands in my peripheral vision. I wasn't feeling anywhere near as tough as I sounded, but there was no way I was giving my backpack to these losers.

The threesome looked surprised at my attitude, and Scarface's neck and face blushed red, his hands moving fast into furious fists. I braced myself, muscles surging with adrenaline.

He swung at me, and before he knew what hit him, I'd doubled over and charged my head into his gut like a battering ram. I heard him grunt as he went flying backwards, hitting the deck hard.

I kept going, avoiding his flailing arms and legs as he scrambled to recover his balance and his wind. But I was already gone, leaving them all behind me, racing away towards the Y-intersection.

I threw myself into the left-hand branch.

Scarface's swearing and the shouted threats of the others thundered down the drains.

This drain was smaller and more sloped than the main one. As my feet pounded along, the enraged footsteps of the three in pursuit pounded even louder.

"C'mon! Dogs! Freddy! Get the little scumbag!" Scarface yelled to the other two.

I had no idea where I was heading. They were gaining, but I could hear something else - a sound I couldn't identify. It wasn't the distant rumble of trains. It was something else.

I kept running. I was passing dark entrances to other, much smaller drains on my left and right, but they were too small to climb into. Water was starting to trickle from these small drains onto the floor of the one I was running through. I knew that a city the size of mine would have miles of drains beneath it, but I hadn't realized just how extensive this underworld was.

Soon I was splashing through ankle-deep water. But still the footsteps behind me persisted.

The rumbling was getting louder, and I suddenly understood what it was. It was the accumulating sound of dozens of drains rattling under the surge of the water that was pouring down from the city's gutters!

 

Synopsis

Callum "Cal" Ormond is in an underground oil tank that is filling fast with sump oil. The infamous criminal Vulkan Sligo threw him in there when Cal wouldn't give him any information about the Ormond Angel, the jewel, or the Ormond Riddle. As the oil nears the top, Cal is just keeping his nose above the oil when someone twists open the cover and pulls him out.

Cal's rescuer is Winter Frey. She isn't much older than his fifteen years, and she says that she rescued his from her guardian, Sligo, because she likes his piercings (which are fake). Winter takes Cal to another house in Dolphin Point. The house belongs to Murray Durham, an even bigger criminal than Sligo. They sneak into a room and Winter steals a small, heart-shaped locket.

After escaping from the house into the night, Winter goes through Cal's bag and discovers the picture of the Ormond Angel. She tells Cal that she has seen the angel, but won't tell him where.  Winter leaves after she puts her cell phone number in Cal's phone. She tells him to call her.

Cal returns to the abandoned house he has been staying in. A few days later, his best friend, Boges, shows up with food and money for Cal. They try to call Winter to learn more about the Ormond Angel, but her phone is turned off. Boges suggest that they create a blog on the web that explains what has been going on in cal's life and how he didn't hurt his uncle or little sister.

Boges returns a couple days later and has been working on trying to solve the picture of the sphinx and the Roman bust. He has learned that the sphinx is a riddle or an enigma. He thinks it has something to do with the Ormond Singularity. Boges has discovered that there is a different sphinx, a half-woman, half-lion sphinx. He hasn't discovered anything about the Roman bust.

Later, while talking with Boges on his cell phone, some homeless people start to break into Cal's abandoned house. He flees and ends up in the city's storm drain.

Cal decides to try and figure out which house he was held captive in when he went to meet Jennifer Smith in the park in January. After searching for a while, he finds the house, climbs a tree, and checks out the people inside. He sees a man and a woman, but doesn't know if she is Jennifer Smith or not. He takes a picture of her with his cell phone.

While at Central Station, Cal spots some kids playing basketball. On the other side of the court, Cal sees a kid that looks exactly like he did a month ago before everything happened. this guy could be his twin. The guy runs off when Cal calls out to him.

Cal shows Boges the picture of the woman on his phone and Boges recognizes her from the television. She is a criminal lawyer names Oriana de la Force. Cal is confused as to why a criminal lawyer kidnapped him and wanted to know about the Ormond Angel.

Later, Winter gets hold of Cal and she finally shows him the Ormond Angel. The angel is a stained glass window the the Ormond cenotaph. The image is of Piers Ormond, a solider during World War I that was killed in Flanders in 1918.

Jennifer Smith calls Cal again and he is convinced that she only wants to help him. She has something of his father's and she wants to return it to him. She asks to meet in the zoo at the sundial at 4:30 pm. When Cal gets to the zoo, he doesn't have enough money to pay the entrance fee, so he finds a tree that is growing close to the wall and hops over it into the zoo. Thinking he is in an abandoned part of the zoo, he realizes his mistake when he sees people yelling down to him from behind the protective barrier. Just as he figures it out, he sees before him a large male lion that is staring intently at him and is getting ready to pounce.

Conspiracy 365: February is the second thrilling book of twelve in the Conspiracy 365 series written by Gabrielle Lord. This book is intended for young readers 10 and up.

 

Review

Conspiracy 365: February is another action-packed book from Gabrielle Lord. The clock is ticking and Cal must figure out all of the puzzles that his father left for him before he died. Cal and Boges are working hard to solve them, but the answers are not coming easily. With the help of Winter, at least they finally know more about the Ormond Angel.

At the end of this book, Cal only has ten more months to figure out what his dad wanted him to know. The bad guys are after him and Cal doesn't understand why. All he knows is that he cannot return home until he figures it all out. Having been on the run for two months is taking its toll on Cal, as he has to depend on his friend Boges to bring him food and money.

Gabrielle Lord has created a wonderful and thrilling series in Conspiracy 365. With a new book coming out every month, readers will not have to wait long for the continuing story. That is a good thing because each book, so far, has ended in a cliff-hanger. In the first book, Cal was left to drown in sump oil in a large tank that was quickly filling. In this book Cal is . . . hey, I'm not gonna tell you how this one ends. Just know that Cal's life is in peril.

Conspiracy 365: February has a lot of action, but it also a builder. Things are building . . . like Cal's understanding of the Ormond Angel, who kidnapped him a month ago, and things like that. Other mysteries are revealed that will come to play in future books. Cal is making some headway in solving some of them, but he hasn't progressed very far yet.

One thing I learned was that this book takes place in Australia. Ah . . . that's why Cal calls his mother "mum" and why he calls his cell phone a "mobile" phone.

Boys will absolutely love Conspiracy 365. I may not be a young boy anymore, but even I can't wait to read the next book. The characters are terrific and the action gets your heart racing. Cal may not be your typical hero that gets out of each engagement unscathed, but he is smart and uses the resources around him to survive. I just know he and his friend will solve all the mysteries in the end.

Overall, Conspiracy 365: February is a great addition to the already awesome book that started off this action-packed, thrill-ride of a series. I wonder who is behind the conspiracy that Cal has stumbled onto? I guess I will find out more next month with Conspiracy 365: March. The wait will seem forever!

I rated this book an 8 out of 10.

This site was created and is maintained by Conan Tigard
2010