The Dungeoneers

448p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062338143.
Gr 4–7—Living with eight rambunctious sisters has primed Colm Candorly to be the perfect pickpocket: stealthy and quick. Not only that, missing a finger lets his hands slip easily into others' pockets. When one of his sisters becomes ill, Colm decides to use his talents to pick the pockets of the wealthy in the village square, amassing a pile of gold. The problem comes with explaining the gold to his stickler father. Colm's dad insists that he come clean to the magistrate in hopes that his son will be dealt a lenient punishment. Enter Colm's savior, Finn Argos, a smooth-talking rogue who whisks Colm off to a school where such talents are valued, a school for treasure-seeking dungeon raiders. There the real adventure begins. Colm is paired with a redheaded barbarian girl, a stuttering mage, and a timid druid to form the ideal dungeoneering party configuration. Trolls, goblins, and orcs pose the obvious danger for dungeoneers, but what hidden danger lurks behind the castle walls? Colm and his friends are engaging characters with distinct personalities.
VERDICT Anderson's latest fantasy is an exciting examination of friendship, morality, and loyalty; readers will look forward to Colm's future exploits.

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