The Vesper Holly series is a lot of fun. An 'Indiana Jones' feel with a strong female character. Great for pre-teen girls and up.
A short, quick teen adventure from Alexander. Fun, but light, and not as good as the other book I've read from Alexander recently (The Rope Trick). "Illyria" is an old name for the area that now includes Croatia, where I was this spring (and which I'm still editing/uploading my photos from!), but I have to say i didn't get a very specific sense of place from the book. It's more of a fantasy-feeling country, although it's a historical adventure, not a fantasy one. Set in the 19th century, it has to do with a ridiculously self-sufficient and resourceful orphan, Vesper Holly (female and redheaded of course, I think Alexander's got a thing for them). Her new 'guardian', an elderly man who was a friend of her late father's, is quite overwhelmed by her, and is helpless in the wake of Vesper's headstrong notions, which involve running off to Illyria to investigate a theory of her father's, and result in both getting caught up in a political struggle between rebels and a clueless king. The interactions between Vesper and her guardian are quite funny, but the political situation is rather grotesquely simplified (and too easily fixed), considering the actual history of the region. Enjoyable, but I'm not rushing out to get the rest of this series.
In 1872 Vesper Holly and her guardian set out for the tiny country of Illyria to look for treasure and for an army of magical warriors. Soon however, they are in a struggle with rebel forces and someone is stalking them. A fast paced story with lots of attention to detail.
From the cover - Vesper Holly has big planswhen she and her guardian Brinnie set sails for the tiny country of Illyria. Once there, Vesper will search for the legendary treasure and army of magical warriors that belonged to old King Vartan, whose great deeds only her father believed were true.
But from the moment they arrive, Vesper and Brinnie land smack in the middle of a great struggle between the rebel forces - led by the mysterious new Vartan - and their Zentan rulers. Suddenly Vesper has enemies who will do anything to stop her from reaching her goal. Vesper needs someone to trust. But who is friend and who is foe?