Big River State Forest
Everything fizzed and flickered out.
The force of the crash-landing had shaken up every cell
in my body. I was trembling all over, but my arms and legs felt numb and
helpless. I couldn’t see a thing--I was surrounded by darkness . . .
Darkness and smoke!
The fumes were filling the cabin, fast. I could feel the
small space I was in warming up. My blood pumped, driven by panic. I
thrashed my hands around, still trying to find the lever that opened the
canopy. I had to get out before I choked to death!
I fumbled around, coughing from the smoke. Something in
the undercarriage collapsed, sending the wrecked jet lurching. I fell
forward, slamming the windscreen hard with my head. A small crack
zigzagged across in front of me, but the thick glass remained otherwise
Then came a whoomp
from the rear of the aircraft, followed by the crackling of
flames--the Orca had fully ignited! Intense heat engulfed me and my
desperation soared. I instantly pushed myself back into my seat, brought
my knees up and kicked at the canopy with all my power. I kicked again
and again until it opened a few inches, letting the night air gush in. I
gulped it down as the fire behind me intensified.
I kept kicking until finally, I heard a snap. The canopy
yielded and I bashed my way out, coughing and spluttering, dragging
myself and my backpack out of the cabin.
I rolled to the ground, shot to my feet, and then raced
away from the burning wreckage and into the darkness.
After a few seconds I stopped running and looked back.
The Ormond Orca was a mass of flames and some nearby trees had caught
As I stood there, mesmerized, watching it all burn in
blurry-eyed shock—amazed that I was still alive--the burning Orca
buckled, then exploded! The force of the blast was so strong that when
it hit me it threw my body to the ground, and I almost collided
headfirst with the thick trunk of a tree.
I ducked my head just before a torn panel of the Orca
wing hurtled past me and sliced like an axe blade into the tree trunk,
just inches above me.
From where I was lying, I could see the jet’s burning
body in the moonlight. Steaming debris was strewn all over the smoky
area surrounding what was left of Great-uncle Bartholomew’s Orca. If I’d
wanted to alert the authorities to where I was, I couldn’t have done a
My ears were buzzing and the sound around me was all
muff led. I felt around for my backpack, grabbed the strap and pulled it
to me. My shoulder throbbed from the bug extraction.
Face-down in the dirt, my damaged body tried to recover
and regain control. I couldn’t help thinking of Bartholomew and his
fighting spirit. It was my fault he was dead. Sumo and Kelvin shouldn’t
have involved an innocent person, but I shouldn’t have either. How much
longer could he have lived if I hadn’t shown up and brought so much
danger with me? He could have had another ten years with his life’s
work, the Ormond Orca. He spent so long building it--and then it took me
just one flight to completely obliterate it all . . . My uncle and his
airplane crashed on the same day. And they’d both gone up in flames.
"I’m so sorry," I whispered.
Callum "Cal" Ormond
escapes from crashing and burning in the Ormond Orca. Fleeing through
the forest with Oriana de la Force's men, Kelvin and Sumo, behind him,
Cal ducks into a store in the town of Big River. The store has a couple
of old computers and Cal logs on and starts telling Boges what has been
going on via his blog. Cal informs his best friend about his uncle, the
Ormond Jewel, and his ancestor, Black Tom Butler. Boges guesses that
Cal's dad hinted that Cal needed to research Black Tom Butler because of
the picture he drew of a butler holding an ace and a face card . . . a
Cal hides out in the
Waratah Scout Hall for a few days while search parties look for him. The
news is reporting that Cal killed his uncle and stole his plane, which
he crashed. Cal tries calling Eric Blair again, who he tried to call a
few months ago, and Eric is still out from work. Eric was his father's
colleague that may have gone to Ireland with him just before Cal's
father got sick. Cal and Boges figure that something fishy is up since
Eric has not been to work in months.
A few days later, Cal
hops on a train and ends up back in the city where he used to live.
Boges takes Cal to a friend's beat up trailer on an empty lot in the
country. Since no one is living there, Boges suggests that Cal hang out
there for a while. Earlier Cal had contacted Jennifer Smith and she sent
to Boges the flash drive Cal's father left him. Boges and Cal check out
the pictures on the flash drive of Cal's father in Ireland visiting
ancient castles. They realize from looking at the pictures that Eric
Blair must have taken them and come to the conclusion that they really
need to find him.
A week or so later,
Boges pays another visit to Cal at the trailer, but is followed by Sumo.
Cal and Boges both escape by running evasively and then hiding in a
clock tower. Boges leaves and Cal bumps into Griff. Griff seems to be
rolling in money and tells Cal that if he ever needs anything, look him
Boges tells Cal about a
place that his uncle cleans that is on the beach and going to be empty
for six months while the owners are out of the country. The mansion is
at Crystal Beach and Cal loves the place. He promises not to disturb
anything in the house. He is happy to have a place with running water.
Boges and Cal guess
that Sligo originally stole the Ormond Jewel from Cal's house way back
in January. But Sligo has moved and Winter is reluctant to tell Cal
where he is living now. Boges finds someone who knows where Sligo is,
but wants $400 for the information. Cal contacts Griff and says that he
needs to earn some money. Griff says that Cal can take home $500 if he
helps with a job that night. But when Cal sees that they are going to
carjack a woman's red car, he jumps in to defend her. After Griff and
the other thugs flee, the woman, Belinda Quick, an attorney, who was
grateful for Cal rescue, gives him a ride.
Cal and Boges finally
figure out where Sligo is living and Cal convinces Repro to help him
break into the house. Repro claims to be able to crack a safe and Cal
wants to get the Ormond Jewel back. With Winter' s help, Cal and Repro
make it onto the house and locate Sligo's safe. But will Repro be able
to crack the safe before Sligo and his gang of thugs return?
is the sixth thrilling book of twelve in the Conspiracy 365 series written by Gabrielle Lord.
This book is intended for young readers 10 and up.
answers a few, but not many, of the questions Cal has had for so long.
There are new puzzles to be solved and Cal is getting worried that he is
running out of time because of the December 31st deadline. He also
learns that the heir to the Ormond Singularity must be 16 years of age
or older. If the heir dies before his 16th birthday, whatever benefits
the Ormond Singularity might bring reverts to the next of kin in the
bloodline. Is Cal the heir? If Cal is the heir and he dies, does that
mean that his uncle or his sister is next in line?
continues to write exciting and fast-paced books in the Conspiracy 365
series. The quick pace of the story and the action sequences make me
want to sit up and cheer, "Run, Cal, run!" All I know is that I am
hoping the Cal can figure out all this Ormond Singularity stuff in the
next six months. He has already used up half of the year and has
discovered a few answers to the clues his father left, but still has
many more to solve. And if he has to go to Ireland for more answers, how
in the world is he going to do that?
I find as I read each
new book in this series, and get to the next inevitable cliffhanger on
the last page, I want the next book right away. This series reminds me
of the old radio adventure shows of the 1940's that I have heard about.
My father has mentioned how they always ended in a cliffhanger and
listeners had to wait for a week for the next exciting episode. That is
what Conspiracy 365 is. It is an old-time radio action-adventure show
put down on paper for kids of today. And after 60 plus years, this
format still works . . . and works well.
365: June is another exciting chapter in the most electrifying year
of Cal Ormond's life. Male young readers will especially enjoy this
series. If they are anything like me, they will be chomping at the bit
waiting for the next book to be published. I wonder what secrets Cal
will solve in the next chapter of his life in
Conspiracy 365: July?
I cannot wait to find out.
I rated this book an 8½ out of 10.