Henry Halifax and the Tutori's Cloak
by Atlas Swift
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Pub Date 15 Dec 2022 | Archive Date 15 Dec 2023
Buckle up for a fast-paced international adventure that’s packed with mystery, laughs, & page-turning twists that will keep you guessing until the end!
The legend of the Tutori was something Henry Halifax had never imagined to be real - guardians from an ancient organization tasked with watching over the animal kingdom from the shadows. After a chance encounter with the elusive Tutori, Henry and his fiercely loyal dachshund quickly become entangled in a global pursuit that will demand courage at every turn. But courage only gets you so far and Henry must carefully navigate a web of treachery within the Tutori ranks if he’s going to survive onboard the Arthur Broome. Not sure who to trust after his worst fears are realized, Henry will stop at nothing to uncover the truth and save his friends before it’s too late.
If you love fun adventure stories with refreshingly original characters and you’re against dentists hunting lions for sport, this is the book you’ve been waiting for!
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 2 members
Henry Halifax is such an endearing character with his loyal sidekick dachshund Penny. He is as keen as mustard , respectful of his elders and the Canadian mounted police (although some are rather arrogant), but loves solving mysteries. This sets him off on a dangerous and exciting adventure when he notices crimes and odd occurences before anyone else. The beginning was a bit gruesome and I did worry about reading it to my youngest grandchild but everything was fine . An enjoyable and exciting adventure story.
The opening is shocking for a middle-grade book but it’s successful in piquing interest. Shark fishermen rescue a person drifting in an inflatable zodiac boat, thirty kilometers offshore, which is a kind, humanitarian thing to do. However, the individual they rescue turns on them by causing their boat to sink in shark-infested waters. Their grisly demise isn’t described but the Frenchman remains nearby to taunt them and attracts great white sharks by adding chum to the water. These actions are the disturbing part and they present the antagonist’s identity as an evil, malevolent character.
The story opens along the eastern coast of Canada and then proceeds to take readers across the world to France and Norway. The main vehicle for transportation is a huge sailing ship that also happens to be the headquarters for the APA, the Animal Protection Agency. The book is mostly realistic fiction but it also has some elements for speculative fiction. Elevators don’t simply go up and down and Henry often receives assistance from two playful otters who always know the correct buttons to push. New suits appear in Henry’s closet amazingly quickly and hot meals always await him when he returns to his room.
The plot morphs into a mystery of sorts as Henry tries to stop the Frenchman from stealing polar bear cubs from the local zoo. He notices a suspicious character coming ashore in a small zodiac and suspects it might be the infamous Frenchman. The Frenchman’s reputation as a mischief-maker and kidnapper of small animals is known around the world. The next couple of chapters feel like they’re building to a plot’s climax even though the book has barely started. After the dramatic opening at sea, this action-packed pursuit of the Frenchman almost guarantees reader’s interest will be captured until the end. It kind of feels like a Wily Coyote chase when the Roadrunner always manages to stay one step ahead. Henry is accompanied by his best friend Penny, a wirehaired dachshund, and they’re determined to capture the Frenchman and return the polar bear cubs back to the Kodiak Bay Zoo.
What didn’t work as well:
Henry accompanies an APA agent named Barnaby on his quest to stop the Frenchman. Barnaby displays annoyance with this relationship and doesn’t hide his efforts to get Henry to quit. The troubling part is some of Barnaby’s actions are mean-spirited and downright dangerous and he laughs them off as pranks done for fun. It casts him in a very negative light but there’s more going on than meets the eye.
The Final Verdict:
The climax resolves the conflict in a VERY unexpected way that should still satisfy most readers. The non-stop pursuit of the Frenchman is full of action and miraculous escapes with the well-being of animals always at the forefront. The overall book should enthrall most young readers and I recommend you give it a shot.