Wednesday 11 August 2010

Conspiracy 365: May

Conspiracy 365: May by Gabrielle Lord (Scholastic Inc.)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9781741690378
Reviewed by Dawn Meredith

Conspiracy 365: May takes us further on young Callum Ormond’s surreal adventures. Just how much weird and dangerous stuff can happen to a teenager? Well, it’s all down to how bad the bad guys are. Cal is up against a mobster, Sligo, and a tough talking lawyer, Oriana De La Force, also with powerful friends. Both want to get their hands on that precious, illusive Ormond prize.

In this instalment Cal finds himself locked up in a mental home, strapped in a strait jacket, his identity stripped from him. In some ways it’s a relief that no one knows he is the runaway murdering teenager whose face is splashed all over the news, but Cal knows also that as long as he is trapped here, as Ben Galloway, he can’t solve the Ormond Riddle that has plagued his family for generations. Meanwhile, his little sister Gabbi remains in a coma and his mother seems convinced, like everyone else, that Cal is responsible. It just doesn’t add up. Even Cal’s best friend Boges, who provides emotional support, a string of ‘clean’ mobile phones to stay in contact, food and clothing, can’t believe Cal’s family have been so easily manipulated.

Cal’s amazing ability to extricate himself from seemingly impossible situations comes to the fore once again and he manages to escape the asylum, with the help of Boges and Winter Frey, the girl he can’t help but trust. His aim is to find his Great Uncle Bartholomew, who is the only other living relative with information about the Ormond Singularity. Armed with the information he has so far, Cal makes his way north to his uncle.

Bartholomew turns about to be a wonderful ally and for a brief time Cal has a break from being a wanted criminal. He enjoys his uncle’s company and more importantly, finds out a little more information about his family curse and something called The Ormond Jewel. Ticking away in the back of Cal’s mind is the constant idea that the Singularity has something to do twins in his family. His eye falls on a newspaper clipping – “Twin Baby Abduction Nightmare.” His father was a twin, his uncle was a twin and perhaps, just perhaps, that boy Cal has seen occasionally who looks eerily similar to himself is his own twin. But what does it all mean? He now knows about the tenth Earl of Ormond, Black Tom Butler and that the riddle and the jewel must be put together to solve it. Before Cal can truly get to the bottom of things with Uncle Bartholomew, Oriana’s thugs arrive. How are they tracking him? To his horror he finds that a tracking device was embedded under his skin on his right shoulder. His uncle manages to dig it out, but it’s already too late. Whilst Cal is breaking in to the neighbour’s house to collect vital information being kept there about his family, Bartholomew’s home is set alight.

Upon returning, Cal finds his uncle dying and has to make the heart wrenching decision to flee before he is caught. Bartholomew insists Cal leave immediately and take his pride and joy, The Orca, a home made light plane. Distraught, Cal says goodbye to the only relative who seems to believe his story and escapes in the Orca.

Flying is one thing, landing safely is another. Cal runs out of fuel and has to crash land. Now his trouble really begins. Cal is trapped inside the cockpit and the smoke is choking his life out of him.

Dawn Meredith writes from the Blue Mountains. You can follow her exploits here:  


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