Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, as well as Flood Summer, a novel for adults. He lives in Arkansas with his wife and two sons.
Gr 5-8-Reynie, Kate, Constance, and Sticky return for a third adventure. This time, the megalomaniac Ledroptha Curtain schemes to regain his deadly Whisperer machine. As Constance develops her powers of mental telepathy, Reynie and the others use their gifted minds to puzzle through Curtain's master plan even as they fall prey to his kidnapping attempt. Imprisoned by well-meaning and sinister characters alike, the Society members face choices that test their loyalty as well as their intellect. Sequels sometimes lack the intensity of the original works, and Prisoner's Dilemma struggles with this syndrome at times. The children's unique talents, long since revealed, are past the startling sparkle of their introduction. As character development yields to a dominant plot, the story lacks the facile agility of its predecessors. On the other hand, the opening gambit is fresh and frightfully funny, as is Constance Contraire always and forever. The writing is replete with rollicking metaphors. Finally, as in the best of E. L. Konigsburg's novels, Stewart's introspective characters examine the significance of their experiences. Unlike most adventurers, these special children see the world surrounding their story and share it with readers. If this is the last Society installment, readers had better, as Reynie says, "acquire a taste for the bittersweet."-Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.