The Savage Fortress (Ash Mistry Chronicles, Book 1) by Sarwat Chadda
Well, I seem to be totally out of order here: so I read The City of Death (Book 2) first because I had a judging deadline, then backpedaled to catch up by sticking this Fortress (Book 1) in the ears (Bruce Mann narrates well enough, although I think Sunil Malhotra would have been the better choice), only to learn that Ash Mistry and the World of Darkness (Book 3) which hit shelves on the other side of the Pond last summer, doesn’t even have a Stateside pub date scheduled yet!
Harrrummmphhh. Talk about literatus interruptus (especially since Book 2 ended with quite the shocker)! And while it’s true that you don’t need Book 1 to enjoy Book 2, obeying the order will make you more enlightened.
Meet Ash Mistry, your average city teen: “All-day gaming sessions. His mates. McDonald’s. These were the best things in life.” He’s been sent to India with his younger sister Lucky for some cultural rediscovery with Uncle Vik and Aunt Anita. While he might not be British enough back home, he’s certainly made to feel like a London oddity on the other side of the world. Two weeks into their trip, he doesn’t know how he’s going to survive “the oppressive temperatures, the stench, the crowds, and the death.”
And then he lands at the Savage Fortress, owned by Lord Alexander Savage, who has the world convinced he’s nearly a saint with all his many charities. Savage has summoned Uncle Vik and offered him two million pounds to translate ancient scrolls written in a lost language. Hidden behind proverbial curtains, Ash witnesses the exchange with mounting horror; his nightmares becomes real when he literally falls into a hidden portal from which he glimpses his own mysterious past …
“‘I’m tired of being poor,'” Vik initially replies to Ash’s protestations, but Vik’s conscience makes him tear up the check when he catches a glimpse of Savage’s true nature. Not used to being challenged, Savage is less than pleased, setting off a violent chain of events that send Ash and Lucky running for their very lives. Survival will depend on a holy man, a shapeshifting demon, and a street urchin … and the odds just aren’t looking so good.
Who needs video games, when you’ve got deadly monsters chasing you 24/7 in real time? So much for a typical summer vacation …!!!
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult