"Nate Fludd, budding beastologist, is back in an adventure even greater than his first. His Aunt Phil receives a telegram that a basilisk has escaped from the village of Bamako. The natives need her help, and soon Nate is racing on a camel, flying across the Sahara, and warding off crocodiles from a boat. Aunt Phil has two friendly weasels willing to do battle with the basilisk, and Nate's troublemaking pet, Greasle, accompanies him every step of the way. The basilisk is terrifying, with its deadly venom and scales, and Nate musters all his courage to fight it and continues to wonder who freed the beast and what happened to his parents, who disappeared in Flight of the Phoenix (Houghton, 2009). Children who enjoyed the first book will not be disappointed by the sequel, and those new to the series can easily pick up the story line. The action is nonstop, and the elements of fantasy, mystery, and humor will appeal to a wide audience. Murphy's spot art and occasional full-page drawings carry the action along nicely."
-Jane Cronkhite, Santa Clara County Library, CA for the School Library Journal
"In the second book of R. L. LaFevers' series, Nate once again finds himself in an adventure where he must save the day. Aunt Phil has undertaken Nate's education in beastology since his parents disappeared. In the middle of the Sahara Desert, they are met by Arab friends with a telegram: A basilisk has escaped from its lair in a remote part of the Sudan. Aunt Phil arranges to travel by plane, then by canoe, then by donkey, to save the Dhughani people from the escaped basilisk. To her displeasure, Nate's pesky, oil-eating, pet gremlin, comes along. On this trip, Nate is only supposed to observe and learn while his aunt captures and returns the basilisk to its lair. But Nate peeks in Aunt Phil's Book of Beasts and is not happy with what he discovers: a basilisk is the king of serpents, born of a cockerel egg, hatched by a serpent. Its breath is venomous, its scales poisonous; its glance kills from twenty feet!
Things don't go according to Aunt Phil's plan, and it becomes Nate's job (with the help of the pesky gremlin), to rescue Aunt Phil. Action-packed, with humorous illustrations, this is a delightful read for young children."
-Elizabeth Varadan, Sacramento Book Review
"Picking up immediately where Flight of the Phoenix (2009) finished, Nathaniel Fludd, Aunt Phil, and the gremlin Greasel pursue an escaped Basilisk, the highly dangerous king of the Serpents. Despite his previous success in the field, Nathaniel is an uncertain beastologist, although wise Aunt Phil finds ways to incorporate Nathaniel's preexisting skills, such as his artistic abilities, as he hones his new ones. Familiarity with Nathaniel's previous adventure is helpful though not necessary, and fans can look forward to a return to Batting-at-the-Flies as the trio investigates the disappearance of Nathaniel's parents in the forthcoming volume."
-Kara Dean, Booklist
"When his Aunt Phil flies to the western Sudan to recapture an escaped basilisk, she takes Nathaniel Fludd along, reassuring him that he is only to "watch and learn." Instead, he and his gremlin friend, Greasle, play important roles. This satisfying middle-grade adventure features a hesitant, unskilled hero, a miniature sidekick straight from Where the Wild Things Are and an exotic setting in colonial British West Africa in 1928. The basilisk is appropriately scary, and straightforward storytelling leads to an exciting climax. Readers won't get and don't need the entire back story from Flight of the Phoenix (2009), the first in the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series, but those who have read it will surely enjoy the return of the supposed orphan and his formidable aunt. Murphy has provided a full-page pen-and-ink illustration as well as several smaller sketches for almost every chapter, and Nathaniel contributes drawings, too. Sharp-eyed readers will realize that the chapter numbers are counted in animal bones. This story is complete in itself, but the ending promises more adventure to come.
"...The story is packed with adventure and mythological creatures. Children who love fantasy, myth, exotic settings, and even a little dose of history will relate to Nate as he discovers his inner hero and carries on the Fludd family tradition. The characters are strongly developed and the period illustrations done in line, including some of Nate's own sketches, enhance the tale. A quick and enriching read that will appeal to a wide variety of children."
-Jane Cronkhite, San Jose Public Library, CA for the School Library Journal