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Necropolis: Book Four of the Gatekeepers

Review

Necropolis: Book Four of the Gatekeepers

The fifth Gatekeeper, Scarlet, is paying no attention as she crosses a street in Dulwich, trying to get across to her friend Aidan. It’s too late when she sees the van bearing down on her, and she’s struck. But at the last possible fraction of a second before impact, she’s shoved to safety by an unknown man who runs away before she can thank him or identify him.

From that moment on, Scarlet's life is turned upside down. In NECROPOLIS, the fourth installment in Anthony Horowitz's The Gatekeepers series, we finally come to know the fifth and final Gatekeeper. Unfortunately for her, she is being actively pursued by the Old Ones. Even more unfortunate, her father works for the Nightrise Corporation, the shadowy front group of the Old Ones.

Enduring their own trials and tribulations in South America, Matt and the rest of the Gatekeepers realize they must get to Scarlet before the Old Ones do, for all five are needed to win the war being waged. They make their way to England only to miss Scarlet by mere inches as she is whisked away to Hong Kong with her father.

The Nexus, protectors of the Gatekeepers, convene and agree that Matt and the rest must journey to Hong Kong and retrieve Scarlet. As they make their way and encounter deception to thwart their plans, Scarlet is imprisoned beneath the Needle. With the aid of the Triads, Matt and Scarlet prepare to flee the Needle but encounter agents of the Old Ones blocking their path, and the conclusion finds the five dispersed around the world at the precise time they are needed together, for the Old Ones are ready to strike their commanding blow.

NECROPOLIS is easily the best Gatekeepers novel thus far. The introduction of Scarlet Adams, the fifth Gatekeeper, adds a new dimension to the story and really helps to round out the cast. In fact, she doesn't seem out of place, or even new to the story. She simply feels as if she's been there the whole while, lingering in the periphery and awaiting her turn to step out.

Once again, Horowitz brings the characters and the action of NECROPOLIS to life in a style that opens up like a film on the page. The attack on Professor Chambers's home in South America plays out before your very eyes, and his vivid detailing of places and scenes, especially in Hong Kong, make it easy to see the city without becoming too descriptive or overblown.

Horowitz has crafted a story with an incredible pace, one that keeps pages flipping but does not fly so quickly as to outdistance its own suspense. And there is plenty of suspense, literally from the opening paragraph when Scarlet is hit by a van, to the intense closing pages that set up what is destined to be an explosive final book.

Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on April 15, 2009

Necropolis: Book Four of the Gatekeepers
by Anthony Horowitz

  • Publication Date: April 15, 2009
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 0439680034
  • ISBN-13: 9780439680035