A hero with an incredible talent … for breaking things. A life-or-death mission… to rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians.
Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them!...by infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.
Alcatraz's ability to break things, he soon learns, is actually a Talent. Alcatraz must learn to use his Talent as he goes after the sands with a team of resistors, including Grandpa Smedry (Talent: "I have the ability to arrive late to things"…including arriving late to pain, or to his own death), Sing Smedry (Talent: "I can trip and fall to the ground"...avoiding injury in surprise attacks), Quentin Smedry (Talent: "I can say things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever"...if captured, he speaks nonsense instead of spilling secrets), and Bastille (a girl Alcatraz's age, who is a knight charged with protecting Grandpa Smedry. Bastille has no Talent, but she's got spunk, skill, and spark to spare). Together they must defeat a Dark Oculator and retrieve the magical lenses smelted from the sand, which allow Alcatraz to read The Forgotten Language, a previously indecipherable text including a message from his long-lost father, who may not be dead after all…
"The conventional trappings of the middle-school fantasy get turned upside down in this zany novel. Readers who prefer fantasy with plenty of humor should enjoy entering Alcatraz's strange but amusing world." — School Library Journal