Cover image for Operation Red Jericho
Operation Red Jericho
Mowll, Joshua.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2005.
Physical Description:
271 pages ; c2005.
The posthumous papers of Rebecca MacKenzie document her adventures, along with her brother Doug, in 1920s China as the teenaged siblings are sent to live aboard their uncle's ship where they become involved in the dangerous activities of a mysterious secret society called the Honourable Guild of Specialists.
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.0 9.0 104777.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.8 14 Quiz: 36988 Guided reading level: X.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult

On Order



Shanghai, 1920 - while on board the 'Expedient', Doug and Becca MacKenzie stumble across an amazing secret. What unfolds is a story of two young people caught up in an astonishing adventure and a story of an ancient order created to protect the world from evil.

Author Notes

Joshua Mowll has worked as a graphic artist for the MAIL ON SUNDAY since 1994. During that time he has illustrated and drawn everything from space flights, medical procedures, and airplane crashes to ancient pyramid theories, invasions, and laser-guided weaponry. Of Southeast Asian pirates, one of the plot elements in OPERATION RED JERICHO, he says, "The word pirates immediately conjures up images of the Caribbean, Blackbeard, and buried treasure. But for sheer scale and professionalism, Chinese and Southeast Asian piracy has a much longer and more notorious history." Joshua Mowll lives in London. OPERATION RED JERICHO is his first book.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8--11. The first book of the Guild Trilogy quickly and deftly plunges readers into an exotic corner of the first quarter of the twentieth century. Teenage siblings Rebecca and Douglas run through a series of adventures in a submarine, on the streets of Shanghai, and among pirates. They are bold, inquisitive, and creative, and they leave behind for readers' inspection numerous documents of their adventures, including Becca's diary, Doug's sketches, and such visual artifacts as maps and photos. First-time novelist Mowll spins a heady yarn, and his characters have some distinctive traits: Doug's speech, for example, is peppered with the term lethal. The reproductions, which are highly detailed, look suitably authentic and will have great appeal for readers who thrive on schematics and puzzles. By the end of the story, Becca and Doug have survived a variety of terrifying exploits and are still in search of their missing parents. A sequel will find a ready audience. --Francisca Goldsmith Copyright 2005 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mowll's intriguing debut novel introduces siblings Becca and Doug. An opening "note to the reader" adds an air of authenticity to the fiction by identifying the author as heir to his deceased great-aunt (Becca), who had requested that he finish putting her "archive into a publishable form." Set in 1920, the elaborately plotted saga opens in Shanghai, as Becca and Doug (whose parents disappeared a year ago during a mysterious expedition to western China) arrive at a research ship captained by their uncle, their newly appointed guardian. Also on board is a French scientist who had been kidnapped by a Chinese warlord and forced to create torpedoes using a powerful explosive. The teens explore the ship in hopes of discovering why their uncle is so secretive about his South China Sea mission, and discover messages outlining the man's assignment from the board of the "Honourable Guild of Specialists," an organization whose raison d'?tre readers learn only at tale's end. Inquisitive, impulsive Doug and cautious, thoughtful Becca play key roles in accomplishing the complex task, which entails a dramatic showdown with the warlord. Becca's diary entries and sidebars with background information supplement the narrative, along with drawings from Doug's sketchbook, cutaway views of the ship, maps and foldout pages marked "Confidential Material." As the energetically paced story winds down, Becca and Doug make a pact to search for their parents, setting the scene for book two of the planned Guild Trilogy. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Excerpts from 15-year-old Becca's diary interspersed with third-person narrative combine to produce a tale of high adventure, intrigue, and science fiction along the China coast in 1920. Following their parents' mysterious disappearance in the remote Sinkiang region, Becca and her younger brother, Doug, are sent from their home in India to live with their sea-captain uncle, whose research vessel they board in Shanghai. Through their inquisitiveness and spying, they learn of a secret society that may have had something to do with their parents' fate and of a very volatile substance called zoridium that their uncle is trying to retrieve from an evil warlord. Their curiosity leads to their capture and captivity on his island fortress-the site of a rousing showdown that sets the stage for the second volume in this trilogy. Memorable, over-the-top characters and an often unbelievable plot are united with fascinating sidebars and graphics, such as short biographies of people like Bohr and Einstein, archival photographs of old Shanghai, vintage newspaper clippings, a chart of the Morse code, diagrams of "inventions," or Doug's sketches of the action scenes. Several "confidential" full-color pull-outs provide detailed descriptions of the various vessels and of an ancient fighting order, the Sujing Quantou. Some readers may pore over the details in this novel; others will simply appreciate the comic adventure.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.