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Children's Fiction Fantasy & Magic


A Felix Taylor Adventure

by (author) Nicholas Maes

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2008
Fantasy & Magic, General, Science & Technology
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2008
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2008
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 5
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Commended for the 2009 Best Books for Kids & Teens, long-listed for the 2009 CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
Twelve-year-old Lewis Castorman is a master locksmith: there is no lock on earth that he is unable to open. He is therefore flattered when world-renowned chemist Ernst K. Grumpel invites him to his office in New York City and offers him a lock-picking assignment. His confidence quickly turns to dismay, however, when he learns this job will take him to Yellow Swamp in northern Alberta, the scene of a disastrous chemical spill a year earlier. He is also horrified to discover that Grumpel is utterly ruthless and, through his chemical inventions, can alter the rules of nature at his will. But the assignment is one that Lewis can’t refuse.
How is Grumpel able to create such miraculous transformations? What secrets has he locked away and why has he taken pains to store them in Alberta? Despite the strange discoveries Lewis will make at every turn in his adventures, nothing will prepare him for the final encounter that awaits him in Yellow Swamp.

About the author

Nicholas Maes is a high-school history teacher and also teaches classics at the University of Waterloo. His previous novels for young people are Crescent Star, Locksmith and Laughing Wolf, which was nominated for the Snow Willow Award. Maes is also the author of Robertson Davies: Magician of Words. He lives in Toronto.

Nicholas Maes' profile page


  • Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Long-listed, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award

Editorial Reviews

Maes makes sure the fate of each character is accounted for as the story concludes but leaves the reader hoping for a sequel. A highly recommended read for all ages!

CM Magazine

Librarian Reviews


Twelve-year-old Lewis is a master locksmith and he’s flattered when worldrenowned chemist Ernst K. Grumpel invites him to his office in New York City for a lock-picking assignment. But his confidence quickly fades when Grumpel’s true nature is revealed.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

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