Thousands of years ago, King Solomon used a powerful ring, known as the Great Seal, to imprison the fallen angels of heaven in a sacred vessel. Now both the ring and the vessel have been stolen from OIPEP by a double-crossing Mike Arnold. Should Mike choose to wield the demons’ power, all hell could break lose . . . literally. Led by the mysterious Op-Nine, OIPEP has a plan to retrieve the artifacts, and their success depends on the least likely candidate, none other than the last descendent of Lancelot, Alfred Kropp. In this thrilling new adventure, author Rick Yancey proves once again that Alfred Kropp’s unlikely role as a world-saving hero is definitely no accident.
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Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon
"After saving the world in The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, our regular-guy hero is unceremoniously returned to foster care in Knoxville, Tenn. Hounded at school as a freak, living with wretched "professional" foster parents, Alfred is bored and depressed. He believes he's hit bottom until he is kidnapped, first by rogue OIPEP agent Mike Arnold, then by the Office of Interdimensional Paradoxes and Extraordinary Phenomena itself, at which point his classmates' harassment seems idyllic by comparison. For reasons Alfred doesn't immediately understand, his presence is vitally necessary to foil Arnold, who, after being fired by OIPEP, stole two ancient artifacts from the agency's vault: a ring belonging to King Solomon, and a vessel containing thousands of demons that have been locked inside for 3,000 years (and are really pissed off about it). Teamed with Op Nine, OIPEP's top agent, Alfred heads out on a whirlwind mission to recover the artifacts, traveling to the Sahara, Chicago and home again as the planet erupts in his wake. The emotional core of this novel involves likeable Alfred's unresolved issues about the death of his mother at age 12, and his sense of loss is palpably heartbreaking. The villain Arnold's issues remain far murkier, his motivation subsumed by the same Hollywood action-flick pyrotechnics—explosive showdowns, multiple near-brushes with death—that made the first book a hit with kids who might otherwise be playing video games." --Publishers Weekly, April 2nd
PW Talks with Rick Yancey
by Sue Corbett
On the eve of the publication of Rick Yancey's second book about his extraordinary ordinary hero, Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon (Bloomsbury, May), PW caught up with the author at his home in Gainesville, Fla.
In your dedication, you thank your sons who "awakened the slumbering boy" in you. Tell us about that.
I got a very late start at fatherhood. I'm a late bloomer in general. It took me seven years to get through college. I was five years away from 40 before I had a family. All of a sudden, I was around three boys all the time. [Yancey has two stepsons, ages 21 and 16, and a 10-year-old son with his wife, Sandy.] I was really thrilled about the way I could let go and be a little boy again.
Are the boys big fans of Alfred?
All three of them are, and they are full of suggestions for what Alfred should do next, some of which I just can't use.
But you have more Alfred Kropp books coming. There may be a place for all those suggestions yet.
True. Everything about this book is accidental. It started out as a story about a detective. I love detective stories. I thought, 'Let me try my hand at that.' So I had a character, but I didn't have a plot. Then this mysterious guy shows up in the story, and he needs help getting an object. I was totally surprised that this object turned out to be a sword, and even more surprised that the sword turned out to be Excalibur.
So I gave the manuscript to my agent and he couldn't sell it. A few months later, my agent said, 'I have an idea. What if you make your detective a kid who's in this same predicament?' I didn't think I could make the voice authentic. I tried it and, lo and behold, it sold.
So how did you come up with the Seal of Solomon?
Surfing the net. As you know, the seal is not a seal but a ring, and I worried about the comparison to The Lord of the Rings, too. There are so many similarities between these two rings that Tolkien must have known about Solomon's ring.
Doesn't Alfred say something like, "I think I saw this movie," when he first hears about Solomon's ring?
He says, 'Have you paged Elijah Wood?' I thought many kids would make the comparison, so I addressed it up front.
How is Alfred's third adventure coming along?
I'm about a third done. The title is The Thirteenth Skull.
Please tell me there's going to be a happy ending.
Well, there's a better developed love interest. And he gets a better guardian
ALFRED KROPP: The Seal of Solomon
"Modern technology meets ancient legend as readers climb aboard Alfred Kropp's thrill ride to save the world. Although the last descendant of Sir Lancelot, Alfred is not an elitist but endures school humiliation and is flunking most of his classes. Rogue agent Mike Arnold has discovered the two Seals of Solomon and has unleashed demons upon the Earth. Alfred, a potential threat to Mike's plan for domination, is targeted for execution. A last-minute rescue saves Alfred from Mike's bullet, and the hero joins unflappable agent Op-Nine, and the gorgeous Ashley, as part of the special-forces team sent to derail the evil plan and retrieve the artifacts. The fast-moving storyline is geared to a male audience, and boys will not be disappointed with the gruesome consequences for those who look into the demon's eyes. The world's fastest car, huge CW3XD guns that use bullets laced with Alfred's blood and a death-defying sky dive are only a few of the other action magnets sure to attract middle-school readers. Fans of the first episode, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp (2005), will not be disappointed." --Kirkus Reviews, April 15th
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