Mandrake and the Third Aye
by Graham Deeks
Trafford Publishing

"It was eventually discovered that these were all Muslim moths on an anti-alcohol campaign. They had all come from the Mothque across (acroth?) the road."

Stuffed with atrocious puns, Deeks' second installment of rodent bravery (the sequel to Ratrigues and the Invisible Intelligence) is a jumble of characters and locations. Mandrake, the leader of a rat and roach fellowship known as the Aye-Aye, is deathly ill. Though readers will probably not follow the exact details of the scientific explanation for a potential cure, the point is that it involves locating three different flowers grown on two different continents. Thus, the Aye-Aye sets out to obtain the flowers and revive their ailing prophet. The rats, mice, mongooses, cockroaches and assorted characters too numerous to keep track of (yet thoughtfully detailed in a cast of characters at the back of the book) scour the earth to locate the required flowers. Do they make it back to South Africa in time to heal Mandrake? Stay tuned for 387 pages of this plodding plot to find out.

The author's drawings interspersed throughout often represent the text much more clearly. Readers may wonder whether this voluminous tale is meant for children or adults, as it concerns a number of talking varmints yet employs jargon (and jokes) most adults won't comprehend. Left as a purely pictorial book, the story would better jump to life for both audiences.

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