The blurb, from Goodreads:
As twins Rachel and Adam are pursued across Europe by terrifying forces, they realize they can trust no one — and must draw on their special powers to survive.
After the shocking revelations in TRISKELLION, being guests of the “Hope Project” might seem like a relief. But Rachel and Adam soon figure out that they’re being held prisoner, and that the program has more sinister goals than archaeological research in mind. A hideous discovery at the funeral of their grandmother makes it clear that the teenagers must flee from England to Paris, Seville, and finally Morocco, evading not only their former benefactors but also the followers of “The Englishman,” a zombie-like figure with a frightening agenda of his own. It will take all of their special abilities and courage to stay alive until their journey reaches an explosive climax — and they unearth, on the North African coast, an ancient secret even more startling than the first.
I’m sad to say that reviewing this second novel in the trilogy means there will be spoilers of some variety or another for the first installment. Be warned!
Triskellion 2: The Burning starts off just where the first book ended: Rachel and Adam are leaving the village of Triskellion, which was the setting for the first book, and are with the adult archaeologist they’ve befriended, Laura, and their mother, Kate.
It is peaches and roses only briefly before it all goes down hill and Rachel and Adam find themselvse under the “protection” of an organization called Hope Project. It becomes clear–first to the reader via POV-hopping from Rachel to Laura and Kate–and then to Rachel and Adam, that Hope Project is a prison, and that they are in great danger there. So are the much younger (and quite powerful) twins, Morag and Duncan; all four children escape the compound and meet up with another character from the first book, Gabriel.
The story is, in this second installment, much larger than just Rachel and Adam, though Rachel is still the primary POV throughout the book, with a limited amount of point of view shifts to other characters. Gabriel leads them across bronze-age sites in southern Europe and north Africa as they pick up other gifted twins and try to shake their pursuers.
I was surprised and tickled to realize how large the scope of the story was growing as I read. Because the action and story were contained in the small village of Triskellion in the first book, I didn’t expect (despite the blurb) it to expand to such a great swath of geography and across so many cultures. Readers will get a little taste of the cultures of France, Spain, and Morocco and how they are, and have, intersected with Gabriel’s people.
The pacing here is tight, and unlike the first book, which I felt started slow, Triskellion 2 doesn’t have much down time as the children keep moving from place to place, dodging their pursuers, and learning more about heritage and their abilities. I didn’t want to put it down. Rachel and Adam grow as characters throughout the narrative, particularly when the very different morals held by Gabriel and the adults around them force them deal with the fallout of evil acts or to analyze their own ideas of right and wrong.
This was a fun read, and one I’d feel comfortable recommending to my niece and friend’s middle grades readers, though I’d caution them that there are character deaths and sideways mentions of torture. With the cliffhanger at the end I’m very, very curious to see how the plot unfolds in book three.
Triskellion 2: The Burning is the second of a trilogy, written by Mark Billingham and Peter Cocks, under the pen name of Will Peterson. Book three, Triskellion 3: The Gathering is on my to-read list. I’ll review it here when I make it down that far on my list. 🙂