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The Hunchback Assignments [Kindle Edition]

Arthur Slade
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £0.00 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

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Book Description

"A brilliant sci-fi mystery set in old-world London."
The Calgary Herald

"A thrilling tale of an unusual and talented young man."
Publisher's Weekly

"A full-steam-ahead spy thriller, complete with derring-do, a dastardly villain, and a suitably complex plot."
Quill & Quire, starred review

A book for fans of James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Charles Dickens...

This fast-paced adventure is set in the heart of Victorian London. When Mr. Socrates, a member of the shadowy Permanent Association, hears of a hunchbacked infant with the ability to transform his appearance, he decides to take him in. Naming him Modo, he raises the boy in isolation, training him to become a secret agent.

When Modo turns fourteen, his education is complete. He must first survive in London on his own, then, with the help of beautiful Octavia, he uncovers a sinister plot being carried out in the very sewers beneath London.

Will they be able to stop the mad scientist Dr. Hyde and his even more terrifying associates before they unleash their monstrous plans upon unsuspecting Londoners?

*Winner of the $25,000 TD Children's Literature award 2010, Canada
*Winner of Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire 2011, France
*Nominated for fourteen other awards in the U.S., Canada, and France

About the Author:
Arthur Slade was raised on a cattle ranch in the Cypress Hills of southwest Saskatchewan and he caught the writing bug at an early age. He started with poems, moved on to short stories, then graduated to novels, writing in the style of his favourite authors: King, Bradbury, and Heinlein. He is the author of sixteen bestselling books, including the "Northern Frights" series, "Jolted," and "The Hunchback Assignments." He currently lives in Saskatoon, Canada.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 661 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Dava Enterprises (12 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005H7Z8WG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,344 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Arthur Slade was raised in the Cypress Hills of southwest Saskatchewan (on a ranch) and began writing at an early age. He received an English Honours degree from the University of Saskatchewan, spent several years writing advertising and now writes fiction full time. He is the author of sixteen novels, including the "Northern Frights" series of books, "Dust" (which won the Governor General's award), "Tribes," "Monsterology" and "The Hunchback Assignments" series. He currently lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hunchback Assignments 7 Oct. 2011
By Joo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade is my recent foray into the Steampunk genre. The fantastic looking cover caught my eye in the first place.

It's the story of Modo who is taken in as a baby by Mr Socrates who trains him to be his agent. I don't like giving the story away in my reviews, so go read the blurb to see what it's about

Due to mention of orphans at the start and being taken in by a mysterious rich gentleman, I was thinking along the lines of Lemony Snicket, but as it got into the adventure I was picturing the film Young Sherlock Holmes in that they were running around Victorian London.

This book is aimed at the younger market, yet was certainly grown up enough for me. It was a very visual story, I could imagine the look and smells as described.

I will certainly check out more by Arthur Slade. This book is free at the moment and a fantastic introduction to a great writer, so get it quick and start reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rating is For Adult Readers, add a Star for Kids 3 Dec. 2009
I have to admit that I didn't realize this was a children's book when I picked it up, but as a fan of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series (which is definitely not for kids), the book's steampunkish Victorian setting appealed to me. In the early pages, we meet the protagonist, a horribly disfigured young boy who is kept by gypsies as a freak show entertainment. A brisk gentleman named Mr. Socrates purchases him, installs him in a country manor, and keeps him there for 13 years, training him in the arts of espionage and in the control of his special ability. For it seems that the young boy (named Modo) has the ability to shift his physical attributes so that he can impersonate others, and thus Mr. Socrates intends to turn him into a secret agent.

The Victorian British Empire of this book has all manner of nefarious enemies that Mr. Socrates and his top-secret "Permanent Association" work to stymie. In this first adventure in what looks to be a series, the villain is a mad scientist intent on creating hybrid mechanical-organic creatures. After being recruited by the mysterious Clockwork Guild (which is dedicated to destroying the British Empire) he sets about using kidnapped orphans to build a massive mechanized robot creature. Meanwhile, the Guild is also trying to use some combination of drug and hypnosis to turn several unwitting prominent men into assassins. Mr. Socrates sends Modo out to try and thwart some of this, along with another young agent named Octavia. They team up and Modo develops a crush on the intelligent, pretty girl.

Once the initial background is established, the story races along pell-mell, with plenty of action, menace, captures and escapes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Steampunk for kids! 3 Oct. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Rescued by the wealthy and secretive Mr. Socretes from gypsies at the age of one where he was the star attraction in their travelling show, Modo is hideously deformed. But he also has an amazing ability; he can temporarily at least, change his appearance at will. Subsequently taught for 13 years in martial arts, the sciences, the arts, etiquette and acting, Modo is trained to be the perfect secret agent.

Now those skills are being put to the test for the first time as he helps to investigate the Clockwork Guild who are amongst other things kidnapping children and carrying out monstrous experiments on them. Along the way he teams up with Octavia Milkweed, ex-pick pocket and another of Mr. Socretes' young agents.

Taking inspiration from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sherlock Holmes and others, this is a really enjoyable little yarn. I love books set in Victorian London, whether a factual version or as in this case Steampunk fictional version. The two main characters of the hideously deformed Modo and the beautiful Octavia Milkweed work really well together. The villians are great too, complete with such things as metal hands, steam powered legs and dogs with steel jaws! The story is also well plotted and the ending is nicely balanced.

Kindle presentation is pretty good, but there are a few strange formatting errors here and there, but not enough to spoil the story.

Overall: 5 stars - The Steampunk version of Victorian London is nicely done without being too heavy on technology, the story has enough twists and turns to keep it interesting right to the end, and the blossoming relationship between Modo and Octavia is fun to watch. A good read for kids aged up to around 14 or adults like me who enjoy a good Steampunk tale!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 30 Nov. 2009
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Mysterious Mr. Socrates found a one-year-old child in the back of a gypsy cart with the label "L'Enfant du Monstre." Thinking the child was just physically deformed, Mr. Socrates turned to go; however, the toddler called out to him, and when he looked again, a reformation was taking place. This infant was able to change his facial features, so the deformity disappeared for a few moments. Mr. Socrates immediately recognized the value in this ability.

Four short years later, Modo shows advanced intellectual ability. He is able to read, complete complex mathematical equations, and study languages. Mrs. Finchley, a governess, has been hired by Mr. Socrates to care for him and Tharpa, an Indian man, has been retained to teach him combat skills. The only stipulations on Modo's life are that he cannot leave the three rooms that Mr. Socrates has declared as his and that he must concentrate only on studies that will increase his intelligence.

Though he can feel and even see a protrusion on his back, he is not allowed to see himself until at five, when he is given a mirror by Mr. Socrates. Modo is devastated by what he sees. His face, in fact his whole head, is deformed.

When Modo turns fourteen, Mr. Socrates finally allows him out of his rooms. Unfortunately, the journey that Mr. Socrates takes him on is not the gift he had hoped it would be. On the train to London, Mr. Socrates informs him that he will be aiding in the protection of England. His first task is to survive on the London streets without warning or help.

As the story progresses, Modo succeeds in that first task, so Mr. Socrates and a secret society called the Permanent Association send him on more difficult and dangerous assignments.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun
As an adult reader, I was a little annoyed that this book, and at least one other book in the series, borrows characters and themes from other writers. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Hopeful Evangelist
4.0 out of 5 stars worth a read
A decent example of steampunk SF - some engaging characters, good story line with some exciting bits. Bit of an unsatisfying ending, but good up until that point. Worth a read.
Published 13 months ago by A-Canadian-in-London
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Really pulls you in, very well written. A great read before bed, or any other time of day for that matter, 100% would recommend.
Published 16 months ago by Megan Gearing
4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk for older children (10 upwards).
A fantasy based in a place not unlike victorian England. Quite dark at times the story is a sort of Quasimodo meets Sherlock Holmes and Doctpr Frankenstien. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping from start to finish
This absolutely wasn't what I expected at all. It's a damn good story, beautifully written, and with excellent characterisation. Read more
Published on 27 Jun. 2013 by mauvedeity
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice enjoyable fun read
See my other reviews on books in the series. I have enjoyed all the books in this series and hope Slade continues to produce them. Read more
Published on 8 Jun. 2013 by A. Street
3.0 out of 5 stars okay but a bit childish...
The first in a series of these steam-punk adventures is okay but no more than that and nowhere near as good as I might have expected from the author of Dust. Read more
Published on 20 Mar. 2013 by sparkymarky1973
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange tale
Takes some getting in to and following but good once you are into it and a very good final ending
Published on 13 Feb. 2013 by terry cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian virtuoso!
This is the first of this genre of books i have read and absolutely loved it. The characters are very easy to believe in and the main star of the show, Modo, I just wanna hug! Read more
Published on 8 Nov. 2012 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I found this a good read. Good characterisation. The pace was good and after reading it i went and bought the other books in the series
Published on 9 Aug. 2012 by odublin
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