And Then I Read: KNIGHTS OF THE SQUARE TABLE 2 by Teri Kanefield


I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, and am back for more. The Knights of the title are six young people in a San Francisco school chess club, but they are much more than that. Each of the six is very smart, though they have a wide variety of personalities and interests, as well as strengths and weaknesses. In the first book they had some remarkable adventures. First the jet plane in which they were returning to the US crashed on a small, uncharted island off the coast of Iceland. There Alexis, Cindy, George, Liam, Natalie and Spider found ways to help all the crash victims survive in harsh conditions, as well as keep their spirits up and their relationships civil. They won the admiration of the plane’s pilot, Don, who offered to help them in the future any time they asked. Next, back in San Francisco, the Knights took up a new challenge: trying to avert the beginnings of a nuclear war. When the leader of a southeast Asian country (read North Korea) threatens to launch a nuclear missile, the Knights find a way to hack into the country’s defense computers and prevented the launch. Then George, who speaks several Asian languages, called the leader and spoke to him directly, convincing that leader to change his stance and negotiate for peace. Incredibly, it worked, and no one figured quite how the Knights did it, though the event made them even more famous.

As Book 2 opens, Cindy is calling the group together to explain her plan to continue their good works through hacking, though they all know how dangerous it could be for them. After much argument, they decide to try a “Robin Hood” hack on a bank who has swindled its customers and gotten away with keeping millions of their dollars. They successfully get into the bank’s computer system and redistribute about a half million dollars to charities, but this time aren’t able to cover their tracks completely. They find this out when the FBI shows up and and confiscates all their computer equipment. It seems likely the group will soon be headed to court, but they have time for a quick escape, and head to Canada. There they call on Don, their pilot friend, and ask him to take them back to the island near Iceland. They’ve decided to hide out there. Don is reluctant, but finally agrees. The Knights begin making the island their home, and then current events bring them back into the spotlight in a surprising way.

Well written, with realistic characters I liked, and a story I found unpredictable and fun. Recommended.

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