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The Second Life of Linus Hoppe    by Anne-Laure Bondoux order for
Second Life of Linus Hoppe
by Anne-Laure Bondoux
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2002)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Anne-Laure Bondoux continues from The Destiny of Linus Hoppe in The Second Life of Linus Hoppe. The Hoppe family lives in Realm One, in the Protected Zone where privileges abound, and futures are a done-deal controlled by the system. It has been six months since Linus and his friends Chem and Yosh took their exams, outwitting the Great Processor via Chem's genius. However, it didn't turn out as Linus hoped.

He discovered that the machine Processor generates the exam through torturous methods, and that humans control the process. Linus purposely avoided taking the tablet given to examinees, which wipes out their memory of exam procedures. In his association with residents of the Eldorado Complex, the Open Zone, he met Mr. Zanz and his organization, central in the cause for human freedom. Hoppe hoped to experience uncontrolled, real life, determining his own destiny in another Realm. Now that hope is diminished, and he must somehow rekindle it.

Linus has been imprisoned in a factory of Realm Two, STZ (Subterranean Training Zone) working on an assembly line, doing the same thing each day for hours on end. His dreams of a future are stifled, he's exhausted, misses his relatives, and has an illness of unknown origin. His brilliant family - mom, dad, and sister Mieg - are unaware of what happened to him. Befriended in the factory by Sadko Flavitch, Linus is introduced to Toscane, daughter of the rigid director of the transit home. She convinces her father that Linus is very ill, and he sees Dr. Andrews. The Doctor and Toscane, both associated with Mr. Zanz's organization, help Linus to escape.

He makes his way home to spend Christmas Eve with his family. Walking for hours in the cold and snow, he muses: 'There's something to be said for anesthesia ... for both physical pain and pains of the heart.' Home once more, he explains why he switched identity with Yosh, the truth about the Great Processor, and how memory of the exam-experience is erased. Though he hears that Dr. Andrews and Chem are dead, Linus is not convinced. Yosh, now living with the Hoppe family, helps Linus gain admittance into the Administration of Persons office to search the archives. There appear to be illicit operations run by Olf Bradman and his son Seth, from the so-called Realm Zero.

Bondoux's The Second Life of Linus Hoppe is an outstanding continuation of a futuristic adventure, not to be missed. The author writes with exceptional clarity, strong character development and interaction, and vivid, breath-holding suspense. I rate Bondoux's books up there at the height of the Eiffel Tower.

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