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The Xanadu Adventure [Library Binding]

Lloyd Alexander
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug. 11 2008
Vesper and her friends are sailing off to the newly discovered archeological site of Troy. But danger is close behind—and the party is tricked and imprisoned in a fabulous palace called Xanadu. Xanadu’s master is none other than Vesper’s archenemy, Dr. Helvitius, who has a diabolical scheme to dominate the world. His first goal is to destroy Vesper, who has thwarted him once too often. Escape seems impossible. But if anyone can do it, Vesper can!
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7 - It is 1876, and Professor Brinton Garrett reluctantly agrees to accompany his ward, the irrepressible Vesper Holly; his wife Mary; and Vesper's friend Tobias ("The Weed") on a research trip to the site of the ancient city of Troy. En route, they are captured in Asia Minor by none other than Vesper's archenemy, Dr. Helvitius. After much derring-do and many improbable plot twists, the intrepid travelers manage to save both themselves and the world, and Vesper and The Weed even get married along the way. The action is almost nonstop, broken only by a fair amount of pontificating (both the professor and Helvitius are long-winded types), and readers won't get much of a sense of the exotic locale. Although Vesper is her usual plucky and quick-witted self, the character who really shines is our dear narrator, the long-suffering but lovable professor. His love for his family adds dimension to the wild action and makes the final plot twist all the sweeter. Buy where the series is popular. - Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 5-8. In search of a Trojan Rosetta stone, Vesper Holly is off to Asia Minor, along with her guardians, Mary and Professor Brinton Garrett; boyfriend Tobias "the Weed" Pasavant; and twins Smiler and Slider. Early in their travels, they sense "some kind of jiggery-pokery afoot." When they finally arrive at Xanadu, an edifice that "could have been the dream of a deranged architect," they find themselves prisoners of the archvillain Dr. Desmond Helvitius. Megalomaniac Helvitius sees oil as the future source of wealth and power and has designed a powerful petroleum-based weapon to carry out his dreadful schemes. Amid the thrills and chills, Vesper and the Weed marry. With a masterful mix of vivid description; robust, playful language; sly wit; and laugh-out-loud comedy, Alexander packs more mirth and adventure into his pages than some manage to do in novels triple the size. The surprising plot twists and suspenseful chapter endings make this an ideal read-aloud. A damsel who can handle any distress, Vesper is as plucky as ever in this splendid addition to a solid series. Linda Perkins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.0 out of 5 stars End of the story March 28 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Lloyd Alexander created a sort of female Indiana Jones in Vesper Holly, a cool, cultured adventure gal. Now in "The Xanadu Adventure," Alexander winds up the series with a final tense adventure, and a surprising -- and deeply satisfying -- finale. If only most series went out so gracefully.

Vesper Holly loves archaeology and adventure. So when she is told that archeologist Herr Schliemann has found the ruins of ancient Troy, she's determined to go investigate further. So she and her friends Brinnie, his wife Mary, and the knowledgeable oddball The Weed (not his real name) set out to Hissarlik. But things rapidly go awry.

A sinister boat captain dumps them off in the wrong place, and a sputtering archaeologist -- who claims he, not Schliemann, has found Troy -- turns out to be working for the malevolent Dr. Helviticus. And this time, the doctor has far-reaching plans not only to take control of the world's oil, but to rule the world itself from his own luxurious Xanadu...

In a sense, "The Xanadu" adventure is Alexander at his best. The story moves fast, the settings are exotic yet familiar, and there's a good blend of humor and action -- one of the best scenes is when an opulent palace goes up in flames, courtesy of Helviticus's superweapon. Alexander also indulges a more scholarly side -- he focuses on Schliemann and the discovery of Troy to kick off the adventure. Later on, Helviticus quotes extensively from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's legendary "Kubla Khan," which Helviticus's own Xanadu is based on.

But Alexander didn't just intend for this to be another Vesper Holly adventure. Sadly, it's the last one. So he wraps up a few personal threads for Holly, both involving Helviticus and concerning a certain young man.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And so it ends Feb. 24 2005
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lloyd Alexander created a sort of female Indiana Jones in Vesper Holly, a cool, cultured adventure gal. Now in "The Xanadu Adventure," Alexander winds up the series with a final tense adventure, and a surprising -- and deeply satisfying -- finale. If only most series went out so gracefully.

Vesper Holly loves archaeology and adventure. So when she is told that archeologist Herr Schliemann has found the ruins of ancient Troy, she's determined to go investigate further. So she and her friends Brinnie, his wife Mary, and the knowledgeable oddball The Weed (not his real name) set out to Hissarlik. But things rapidly go awry.

A sinister boat captain dumps them off in the wrong place, and a sputtering archaeologist -- who claims he, not Schliemann, has found Troy -- turns out to be working for the malevolent Dr. Helviticus. And this time, the doctor has far-reaching plans not only to take control of the world's oil, but to rule the world itself from his own luxurious Xanadu...

In a sense, "The Xanadu" adventure is Alexander at his best. The story moves fast, the settings are exotic yet familiar, and there's a good blend of humor and action -- one of the best scenes is when an opulent palace goes up in flames, courtesy of Helviticus's superweapon. Alexander also indulges a more scholarly side -- he focuses on Schliemann and the discovery of Troy to kick off the adventure. Later on, Helviticus quotes extensively from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's legendary "Kubla Khan," which Helviticus's own Xanadu is based on.

But Alexander didn't just intend for this to be another Vesper Holly adventure. Sadly, it's the last one. So he wraps up a few personal threads for Holly, both involving Helviticus and concerning a certain young man. Alexander dips out of the action near the ending for a startlingly romantic scene, and the final scene is one of the sweetest he has ever written.

Maybe the best thing about the Vesper Holly adventures is that Alexander doesn't turn her into a Lara Croft type. No blasting guns and acrobatics. Vesper uses her brain and wit as weapons against her brilliant opponent, with the assistance of her loyal pals. Although I did keep wondering why Helviticus would tell her every detail of his master plan as he did. Evil genius' prerogative, I suppose.

The Vesper Holly series goes out with a bang in "The Xanadu Adventure," which is a good adventure in its own right, and a good final adventure for Vesper and Co.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Xanadu Sept. 15 2005
By Kemie Nix - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In 1876, the beautiful, courageous Vesper Holly of Philadelphia

finagles her guardians,Mary and Brinton Garrett, into accompanying her and her persistent friend and admirer, Tobias Wistar Passavant (nicknamed "The Weed,")to Troy. Brinnie rightly protests that no one knows the location of Troy. Vesper, never one to be deterred by such a minor detail, explains that Troy is now known to be in Asia Minor near the Dardanelles Straits. Tobias has a theory that Greece is not the real cradle of Mediterranean civilization but that Troy is. Brinnie, who has accompanied Vesper on her other many adventures, is not eager to go on one instigated by The Weed. He nevertheless soon finds himself bundled onto a ship with Mary and the two young people sailing toward a mythical city - never suspecting that the unmourned, dead archvillain, Dr. Helvetius, is not. He has not only survived but he controls their movements from the time they step aboard. Dr. Helvetious has two passions - world domination and Vesper Holly. Through a corrupted scholar and archeologist, he guides Vesper and company to his latest dwelling, Xanadu, built to mimic the Coleridge poem. World domination he has in his sights through his monopoly of a new product called "oil," and Vesper is in his clutches.

While Vesper doesn't have an understated bone in her body and flings herself into her final adventure with wit and verve, her author, who obviously loves this character and uses Brinnie as his alterego, is a master of understated humor and irony. Shot through with the author's trademark humor and nonstop action,this final adventure ends on a surprising and touching note. It contains hidden poignancy when this alterego goes where

his author cannot go.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking heart May 10 2007
By A. Nesbitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Xanadu Adventure, published a full 15 years after the somewhat open-ended "Philadalphia Adventure," attempts to put a definitive end to the adventures of Vesper Holly. In retrospect, the plot is solid traditional Holly fare. The execution, however, is severely lacking.

Unfortunately, simply too much time has passed between the writing of the last book and this one. At one point in Xanadu, the characters remark how an author can lose his inspiration. The same seems to have happened with Mr. Alexander in this book. More specifically, he seems to have lost a grasp of the characters and what made the series tick in the first place. If his name wasn't on it, I'd swear it was written by a different author.

As I said, the plot is solid, and there are times when the dialogue is pure Vesper Holly classic. Unfortunately, there are some serious problems with the characters overall that are just impossible to overlook. Often Alexander has them saying lines that are basically making them caricatures of themselves. Vesper, for example, repeatedly refers to Brinnie as her "dear old tiger," which is a reference to a few lines in the first book of the series, but instead of invoking a clever tie-in, just comes across as hoakey and false.

The voice of the novels, "Brinnie," is the biggest disappointment. His character comes across as ignorant and silly at times instead of the steadfast, loyal companion to Vesper he has been in the past. For example, at one ridiculous moment, he threatens to cut someone's mustache down to its roots with a butter knife. Lines like this would never had existed in the original series.

Also lacking are the clever observations by Brinnie that made the original books so witty. All we ever get are his thoughts on how to handle situations, instead of getting actual analysis on how others are behaving. He seems -- I don't know, self-absorbed, in a way. Even then, he's the only character who really comes across as three-dimensional. Even Vesper, supposedly the star, seems relegated to some sort of ensemble cast, and therein is the book's biggest problem: Alexander forgets in this book that when it comes right down to it, the Vesper Holly series is not an ensemble, it's an adventure series whose highest points come in the relationship between Vesper and Brinnie. The two of them do not carry on a single conversation throughout the entire book without other characters nearby and the book loses its heart because of this.

And, of course, there's Helvitius, one of the greatest my favorite villain of all time. His character sadly degenerates here into some type of a sad imitation of its former self, where he's relegated to some moustache-twirling villain of silent movies. It's just a waste, really.

Also, unless you are a student of Greek mythology, the endless quoting and references to Trojan horses et al. is probably going to come across as a bit heavy-handed, far moreso than previous installments in the series.

SPOILER ALERT!

One final thing -- the book ends with a very sweet, sentimental ending that should have, could have worked, but doesn't, because of the background to it. Essentially, Vesper marries the Weed two-thirds through the book in a whirlwind wedding that hardly gives room to breathe. It's simply out of character for the heroine -- not in the fact that she would get married, since I always assumed she would, but because in doing so she hardly even speaks at all of the affair to Brinnie, even knowing full well she'll be leaving him. Those who read the previous books know that, as free a heart as she has, the person who really occupied it was Brinnie, and the fact that the two never even converse about the fact that she is getting married just comes across as false.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vesper Holly Shines to the End! June 9 2005
By Ann H. Keech - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lloyd Alexander gives us yet another delightful and intriguing adventure, with his gutsy, intelligent, fearless heroine leading her trusty band of fellow travelers. Like each of the five previous Vesper Holly adventures, this book could be read on its own. But we highly recommend starting at the beginning with The Illyrian Adventure. These are characters you'll want to spend lots of time with. We're especially grateful to Mr. Alexander for finishing up this thriller, and the series, in such a heartwarming and satisfying way. We are able to say goodbye to Vesper, knowing she's moving on in life in such an optimistic way. Bravo Lloyd Alexander!
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent ending to a great series. Aug. 14 2010
By IlovetheMiddleEast - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I adored the Vesper Holly series growing up, so it was great to finally buy the final book. It lacks a good plot, but the characters still make you smile.
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