Laughter, tears, joy, horror and shock; what an emotional roller-coaster of a book. From the gurgling stomach of a much-loved uncle to the charred rim of a once beetle-inhabited cup, Maya Leonard’s latest installment* of beetle-inspired fiction will grip and hold you spell-bound from the moment you start reading. This is a book you won’t be able to put down, it will get in the way of everyday life, and will, depending on when you begin to read it, obscure your dinner plate or breakfast bowl. Be warned, those of you who are moved to tears easily will definitely need a box of tissues or a large handkerchief close by.
It is very hard to write a review of this enthralling and fast-moving book without giving away too many spoilers, so I am going to limit myself to unstinting praise and a very brief synopsis of the plot to give you a flavour of what to expect 🙂
Metamorphosis is the name of the game. Lucretia Cutter has a devious plan, but Darkus, Bertolt and Virginia are on the case. Novak thinks that Darkus is dead, Bartholomew Cuttle is acting very strangely, Uncle Max is a tower of strength and Mrs Bloom reveals hidden depths. We learn more about the early days of Darkus’s parents and their interactions with the then Lucy Johnstone and meet some other entomologists. Yellow ladybirds act as spies and assassins for Lucretia Cutter, and we travel to the film Awards in Los Angeles via Greenland with our resourceful trio, Uncle Max and Mrs Bloom. Lurking in the background, the evil cousins Humphrey and Pickering provide comic, albeit distasteful relief. All this leads us to the dramatic finale, where much is revealed including some parts which will especially amuse all the boys (old and young) 🙂
The shootout at the Film Awards ceremony where the evil Lucretia spectacularly reveals her hidden attributes, Novak performs gravity-defying feats, and giant motorised pooters come into their own to help our intrepid trio and their grown-up allies overcome the evil hordes, makes me think that one day we will be seeing Darkus and his friends on the silver screen. There are of course great supporting roles by Baxter, Marvin, Newton and Hepburn, and do remember to brush up on your Morse code 🙂
This installment of the story ends at Christmas and the presents our heroes receive tell us that our next stop is the Amazon!
This book, like the first will definitely help bring the wonders of entomology to a wider audience. Maya Leonard continues to be a worthy ambassador for our discipline, and I am extremely grateful that she has opted to use her undoubted talents to publicise insects and entomology so well. Thank you Maya.
*If you haven’t read the first installment in this thrilling trilogy I can thoroughly recommend it.