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Pastworld by Ian Beck
Cover Artist: Paul Young
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781599900407
Date: 29 September 2009 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

The year is 2050. After the great financial apocalypse, Buckland Corporation built a sky dome, hundreds of feet tall, over London. The city was converted into a theme park designated as Pastworld. Wealthy visitors known as Gawkers travel there to watch its citizens live in the recreated Victorian squalor of the 1800s. It is a primitive world where visitors hope to satisfy their perverse, morbid curiosities by witnessing hangings, amputations and brutal murders, especially murders committed by the Fantom.

The Fantom is a mysterious, black caped figure who disembowels and dismembers his victims. He escapes his pursuers by leaping from tall buildings. He controls the ragged men, an army of street beggars and thieves. He searches for a young girl named Eve who, until recently, believed she was actually living in Victorian London, unaware of a modern world existing outside the domed city. A young visitor, Caleb Brown, is framed by one of the ragged men for murder. With the help of Eve and her circus friends, he tries to escape the hangman's noose as well as escape the clutches of the Fantom.

From official release/information:

Product Description: What if all of London were really an amusement parkóa whole city returned to Victorian times to entertain visitors from the twenty-first century? That's the wildly original premise of Ian Beck's Pastworld, a high-stakes mystery set in a simulated past.

Eve is a lifelong resident of Pastworld who doesn't know she's living in a theme park until a mysterious threat forces her to leave home.¬† Caleb is a visiting tourist who finds the lawlessness of the past thrillingóuntil he suddenly becomes a fugitive from an antiquated justice system. And in the midst of it all, in the thick London fog a dark and deadly figure prowls, claiming victim after victim.¬† He's the Fantom, a creature both of the past and of the present, in whose dark purpose Caleb and Eve will find their destinies combined.

Page-turning, complex, and haunting, Pastworld masterfully exposes the human experience of the past, of violence, of technology, and of entertainment.

(Source: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books)

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