Reviews for Outlaw

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1
Fifteen-year-old Jake's sense of adventure tends to get him in trouble. He has just been suspended from his English boarding school and must return home to Burkina Faso in Africa, where his dad is the ambassador. While there, Jake and his sister are kidnapped by Yakuuba Sor, a wanted outlaw with possibly deadly motives. Jake is able to use his survival skills and exploring knowledge to determine their location and also to befriend Sor. When Jake realizes that Sor is really his rescuer, and that the authorities are really the bad guys, he must figure out a way to convince his dad and save Sor's life. Davies sets this story in a part of the world that he is very familiar with, and those first-hand details add to the story. Action, adventure, technology, and political intrigue abound in this nonstop thriller sure to appeal to fans of the genre and reluctant boy readers. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Jake and his sister, children of the British ambassador to Burkina Faso, are kidnapped by someone who appears to be the notorious outlaw and alleged terrorist Yakuuba Sor. But when they meet the real Sor and discover he's more akin to Robin Hood, they help try to clear his name. The story offers a nuanced look into political complexities.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 October #1
Kidnapped by outlaws in a small African country with some rough terrain, Jake and his sister Kas use their savvy to both get themselves free and make sure that the culprit is caught. Jake plays "geothimble," a game his friends invented that is similar to geocaching and involves a heap of physicality. In trouble for climbing into a prison as part of the game, Jake is sent home from his English boarding school to Burkina Faso, where his diplomat father is stationed, and is almost immediately kidnapped, along with his sister. The adults want to use all the resources at hand to free Jake and Kas, but it gradually becomes clear that this is not a straightforward crime; it calls for subtlety. The landscape and culture provide an intriguing setting without bogging down the fast-paced plot. Davies, a missionary who lives in Burkina Faso, credibly demonstrates that a place's seeming exoticism does not make it uncomplicated. Most characters that could have been stereotypes are pleasingly well-rounded, although the villains are definitely one-dimensional. Surprisingly, technology is a key ingredient in the unfolding events, and Jake's knowledge and skills are key to their survival. The outlaw at the heart of the plot, Yakuuba Sor, brings a heartening complexity and morality to this seldom-seen setting. Nonstop action in the African desert. (Adventure. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 October #4

Davies (Hacking Timbuktu) smoothly mixes adventure and political commentary, although there's a whiff of noblesse oblige hanging over this otherwise fine tale set in Burkina Faso. When Jake Knight is suspended from boarding school, he heads to Africa to spend time with his diplomat father and the rest of his family. Shortly after he arrives, Jake and his sister, Kas, are kidnapped and pulled into a conspiracy that involves crooked police officers, sociopathic spies, and Yakuuba Sor, the most wanted criminal in the country. Davies, a missionary living in Burkina Faso, clearly has intimate knowledge of the nation's troubles, but the fact that those fighting for freedom need help from visiting Europeans may raise some eyebrows. There are fewer issues with Jake and Kas, who are knowledgeable and competent without seeming unbelievable; the story reads best as an eye-opening journey for them about the abuses of power. Readers who take this approach should enjoy both the characters (especially Sor, who has a saying for every occasion) and the abundant action. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November

Gr 5-8--Jake Knight, 15, is trapped in a stifling British boarding school while his sister gets to live in exotic Burkina Faso with their mother and father, who is the British ambassador. Then Jake gets caught breaking into a prison while playing a 21st-century version of a child's game that involves using GPS and is kicked out of school. What starts off as a promising vacation in West Africa goes violently awry when he and his sister are kidnapped by the alleged outlaw Yakuuba Sor. As they are staring down the barrel of a gun, they are saved by some young men and taken to the real Yakuuba Sor, an 18-year-old African Robin Hood. Jake soon realizes he is caught up in a deadly plot to bring the wrath of the British Empire down on this unsuspecting contemporary folk hero. Outlaw moves at a strikingly quick pace yet is not without humor. There are a number of high-tech elements, all explained in a way as to make them believable for the resources available in the desert. Davies alludes to corruption and a social system that favors the rich without any lengthy asides to detract from the story, making it subtly educational. This thriller is a great way to get readers hooked while introducing them to the issues affecting contemporary Africa.--Devin Burritt, Jackson Memorial Library, Tenants Harbor, ME

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