By Author / Illustrator
Chicken House Ltd
Paperback / softback
The final book in the bestselling BATTLE OF THE BEETLES series!'Truly great storytelling.' MICHAEL MORPURGO on BEETLE BOYFrom a secret Biome in the jungle, Lucretia Cutter plans to wreak wickedness on the world unless Darkus, Virginia and Bertolt can find a way to stop her. If they fail, she'll mass an army of giant Frankenstein beetles - and the planet will never be the same again. Humanity is under siege. The future depends on three children and their beetles . . .
This is the third part of the trilogy following on from Beetle Boy and Beetle Queen and moves the story into a darker and more mature phase. Lucretia Cutters plans to take over the world by infesting areas with beetles doing great damage to crops, involve breeding giant beetles and to this end she has built a Biome in the jungle in South America. Darkus, Bertolt and Virginia accompanied by Uncle Max and Emma the journalist, try to track her down and stop her accomplishing her goal. Lucretia tries to convince Darkus that her aims are noble but he sees through her argument and she meets a just end! Look out for the 'thingamabob'! I have reviewed all three of these books now and they are a remarkable achievement. I am not sure that many people would have thought that beetles would be a good subject for a story but how wrong they were! Each of the children has their own special beetle with its own characteristics and which is very real to them, and when Baxter loses a leg Darkus's fear that he will die strikes to one's heart. All the children stay in the mind long after the books are finished, their loyalty to one another, their different fears being put to one side because of their friendship and care for each other. There are adults, Uncle Max, game for anything, and Barty, Darkus's father, trying to stop Lucretia who used to be a friend, but not being very successful at it, outsmarted at every turn by the evil Beetle Queen. Novak, Lucretia's daughter, having the courage to stand up to her mother, and the butler Gerard, and Ling-Ling her mother's chauffeur, both real characters with real emotions, all have a life of their own - not just filling up the background. In this, the last book in the trilogy, there are also very strong environmental messages spelled out clearly in the closing chapters. In the afterword, M. G. Leonard talks of looking out for The Beetle Collector's Handbook in 2018. These books will have encouraged young environmentalists to see beetles in a new light and certainly from this last book, think hard about their world and how to save it. 304 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Janet Fisher, librarian.
Suggested Reading Age 9+