Darryl Kirby is an orphan. He is also a whiz at computer games -- especially those conceived by Keith Masterly, the greatest software guru of all time. But when Darryl plays a new prototype of his favorite game, StarMaster, strange things begin to happen. After he finds his way through a tortuous maze and answers questions that could stump a scientist, a mysterious message -- "WANT TO PLAY?" -- invites him into a game in which the stakes are higher than they first appear -- a game that eventually lands him in a luxurious laboratory where Masterly has enlisted a brain trust of children for a secret purpose of his own. Befriended by Nina, who suspects Masterly's motives, Darryl slowly uncovers a sinister plan and finds himself the star in his own real-life computer game. But will he and Nina be able to stop Masterly and escape before it is too late?
Brainboy and the Deathmaster is a fast-paced, high-tech mystery-adventure by National Book Award finalist Tor Seidler, author of the modern-day classic Mean Margaret.
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Born in Littleton, New Hampshire, Tor Seidler grew up in Vermont and later, Seattle, Washington, in both of which places his parents were involved in the theater. Encouraged by his family's love of the arts, Mr. Seidler studied English literature at Stanford University, and at the age of twenty-seven his first book, The Dulcimer Boy, was published, launching his celebrated career as a writer.
Over the past twenty years, Mr. Seidler has become one of the most important voices in children's fiction with such classics as, A Rat's Tale, The Wainscott Weasel, an ALA Notable Book, Terpin, and Mean Margaret, which was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. He currently lives in New York City.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-7-A fast-paced, science-fiction adventure. Darryl recently lost his entire family in a horrible fire, and now resides at an orphanage funded by Keith Masterly, founder of the world's largest computer empire. After Darryl plays exceptionally well on the version of "Stargate" found on the laptop in his room, he's unexpectedly adopted and whisked away by Masterly himself. At first, the boy is thrilled to be a part of Paradise Lab, where there are lots of other smart kids like him, all helping Masterly conduct science experiments aimed at "conquering time." But Darryl and his friend Nina come to realize that Masterly's ultimate goals are deadly, and it's up to them to rescue everyone from a madman's evil grip. Though the plot, and especially the ending, is far-fetched, Seidler has created empathetic characters and writes at a level that is accessible even to readers not usually drawn to this genre. Despite the high-tech backdrop, it is Darryl's emotional journey that resonates and makes this novel a worthwhile purchase.
Ronni Krasnow, New York Public Library
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