|by Jack L. Kennedy
If good books are a banquet, The Foxes of Caminus by Laura Burroughs (Burroughs Books) has something for all tastes and ages—with a dash of surprise and spice. There are enough plot twists, character types, and muddled moments to keep audiences of almost any age entangled.
Author-educator Burroughs and her publicist like to bill the book as a science fiction fantasy for the youth market, and those elements are certainly present. A global group of teens goes to a secret school on a distant island, where they explore body and soul and spirit and mind. Before the taut, tantalizing tale concludes the scholars face the unknown in many ways, intellectually and physically. Murder, machines, kidnapping and other hurdles are encountered. The lesson that this reader takes away from "Caminus" is a bit broader than the surface sales pitch—and that may be what the discerning author intended.
Born and raised in East Point, Georgia, Laura Burroughs, now living in Atlanta with her husband, daughter and "big fuzzy dog," knew she wanted to be a writer, almost before she knew what writing was. The continuing adventures of Harlie and Anya Fox will be chronicled in her second book now underway.
This is one of the most compelling, well-done multi-level volumes reviewed in seven years, and is a literary adventure that a variety of folk should enjoy. In style and in substance, it sends a message that “education” is a word broadly defined, is enjoyable if done well, and is always ongoing.
The school introduces its new charges each academic year to new ideas, new goals, and new technology; the book is a subtle reminder that even smart computers need real people behind them. Varied religious beliefs often help chart courses and build judgment, as the students learn that prayers and solutions come in many languages...but the religious tone is sound, not sappy. Mix in a bit of typical dorm life, gossip, teenage slang, sports and mistrust. "Caminus" compounds its magnetic reach to a sophisticated, scholarly, but hopeful and broadminded soul—with some of the great minds of the ages popping up as if by magic when needed to offer aid and advancement.
“Can’t” is a word banned from campus as the students learn about themselves by learning about each other. Exploration, looking to the future and being oneself are stressed.
“Caminus” should not just be read by a few in a narrow audience. It should be enjoyed by many, in a variety of settings, over time. Perhaps that is its main message.
A Kindle edition of The Foxes of Caminus is available for $2.99 on Amazon.com (ASIN B00FGFT6V8, 3121 KB). A PDF format edition is available from Burroughts Books, Inc. For information on ordering directly from the publisher or for a list of other sources go here.