It has been decided that the children of the Rourke family needs to learn basic survival skills. What with the world under threat from Neo-Nazis, Russians and space aliens the world is no longer a safe place. So its off to the John Thomas Rourke Survival Academy in west Texas. There the six young kids ranging from nine to sixteen can learn the basics of survival. Sent out to Camp Zero named because you will count the days until its over. The kids start learning the basics. How to pitch a tent. How to forage or hunt for food. Unarmed combat, and other basic survival skills. The kids adapt in various ways to the training. Some love it and other hate it.
Still being a Rourke kid gives one a sense of paranoia. What with everyone out to get your family. They find that two students who look too old and are trying to become their buddies are not who they seem to be. A tragic death in a climbing accident sets off a chain of events that reveal the camp has been infiltrated by a group of assassins. Young kids called Starling who have been trained to be deadly killers are now after them. The Rourke children will need to put to use the skills they learned to survive these vicious killers.
This is where they decided to take the Survivalist Series into the lucrative YA market. So here we have the teenage children getting their own series. I was a little skeptical that this would work. I was surprised how into the story I became. Ellis has each chapter told from the perspective of one of the Rourke children and it flowed naturally. The story starts out a little slow but once the Starlings reveal themselves and attack that’s were this book really picks up.
Now I don’t know how successful this series will be in attracting young people. My guess its being read by the Survivalist fans like me who are a bit older. I also don’t know how you can find a way to keep a whole series going about kids at a survival camp. It ends with a psychologist named Dr. Starling breaking out the serial killer that kidnapped the kids so this shadowy group is not done with the Rourke kids. This is a book I believe that all ages will enjoy and look forward to the next one.