curiosityWritten by Gary Blackwood

This historical fiction set in the mid 1800s is a story surrounding the once famous chess-playing automaton (robot) named The Turk, which was secretly operated by a person inside of it. This account is of a young boy with a natural ability for playing chess. This chess-playing prodigy has many misfortunes in life that brings him to be the operator of “The Turk.” He is abused by the owner (Johann Malzel) of the automaton and fears for his life if the secret were to be revealed. This book is based on events that took place in France, England and America about the phenomena of automatons in that era. The book is, at times, a little boring and might depict the misfortunes of the young boy a bit too much for a younger reader.

Review by Jackie Bodell, Plymouth Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★✩✩ (3 stars)
Interest Level: 6th grade

Written by Gary Blackwood
Dial Books for Young Readers
313 pages
Release Date: April 10, 2014
ISBN: 9780803739246 (hardcover)

Categories: Elementary – Fiction
Tags: Historical Fiction, Chess, Prodigy, Apprentices, Poverty, Orphan Home, Robots, 19th Century, Johann Nepomuk Malzel

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