This adrenaline-rush of a book is the first in an action series for young fans of thrillers and spy novels. Arun Lal knows that his father is a genius – but he does not know that he has been secretly working on the most powerful piece of technology the world has ever seen: M.A.N.D.R.O.I.D. Other people are aware, though and they want to weaponise it.
Very quickly, Arun’s father is kidnapped and, as custodians of the laptop that controls M.A.N.D.R.O.I.D, Arun and his friends (Donna and Sam) suddenly find themselves on the run from all sorts of villains and MI5 too. The rest of the story is a race against time, as Arun and his friends try to avoid capture and rescue his father.
The fact that the three heroes are only 12 years old is quickly forgotten, as they outwit criminal masterminds, hack high-security software and take part in a genuinely nail-biting car chase. For the most part, it’s believable. There are no superpowers or magic here, just three children who are very brave and have excellent computer skills… and one of them can drive unbelievably well.
Rohan delivers great excitement and tension. All the genre-favourites are there: dangerous stunts, guns for hire, millionaire baddies, vulnerable loved ones, and stakes that are end-of-the-world high. Yet there is an original feel. Arun is a more ‘everyday’ hero than other adolescent spies in fiction, and scenes about torture and violence (which almost go too far, at times) give the book a grown-up feel that readers will welcome.