The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
|Author||Trenton Lee Stewart|
|Series||The Mysterious Benedict Society|
|May 1, 2008|
|LC Class||PZ7.S8513 Mye 2008|
|Preceded by||The Mysterious Benedict Society|
|Followed by||The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma|
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey is a bestselling children's novel written by Trenton Lee Stewart and illustrated by Diana Sudyka, published in 2008. It is the second book in the series, following The Mysterious Benedict Society.
The story starts when Reynie and Sticky meet at Kate’s farm to go to Mr. Benedict’s house. Mr. Benedict is planning to send the children on a huge treasure hunt. When they arrive, they find out that Mr. Benedict was kidnapped by his evil twin, Mr. Curtain. In a letter, Mr. Curtain explains that he needs a certain rare plant and that a person extremely close to Mr. Benedict knows where to find it. He also says that Mr. Benedict and his assistant, Number 2, will be in danger if he doesn’t get this info. Constance, Mr. Benedict’s adopted 3 year old genius, soon reveals that Mr. Benedict gave her a letter to open when the others came. The letter has a riddle in it,and when they solve it, it leads them to a dictionary, then a journal with another riddle. After solving this riddle, the children realize that they are supposed to take a ship called the MV SHORTCUT, the fastest ship in the world. So they sneak off to the ship and find new info. That leads them to a castle in Belgium. There, they find evidence that leads them to a library in a city called Thernbaakagen. There, they learn that the rare plant is called duskwort and might be extinct. It has the power to put an entire city to sleep and also has the power to cure narcolepsy (which Mr. Benedict and Mr. Curtain are suffering from). They rest at a hotel that evening but are found by Mr. Curtain’s agents called Ten Men, but are rescued by Milligan, Kate’s recently found dad, and go to the island that was referred to in the library to have the remaining duskwort in the world. On the island, they find Number 2, who tells them that Mr. Benedict is on the top of the mountain on the island. When Milligan tries to rescue Mr. Benedict, the children are attacked by Ten Men. Milligan comes back and saves the children by fighting the Ten Men while the children escape. Later, they find Mr. Curtain, who tricks the children into being captured also. After Mr. Curtain leaves to run an errand, Mr. Benedict tricks S.Q., their guard, and they get away. As the climb down the mountain, Mr. Benedict falls asleep due to his narcolepsy and the children carry him down the mountain. They soon find Milligan, who is extremely injured from the battle, and after Mr. Benedict wakes up, they run to the bay and are soon surrounded by Ten Men. But just in time, the Shortcut and its crew come to save them. Everyone runs into the security hold of the ship and try to hide from the Ten Men, but the Ten Men find them. Just as the Ten Men plant a bomb near the hold, the Royal Navy shows up. Kate throws away the bomb and Mr. Curtain escapes,but the children make it back home to their families. They all safely arrive at Mr. Benedict's house without any troubles.
Reynard "Reynie" Muldoon is a twelve-year-old with no parents to speak of. He lives with his lovely tutor, Miss Perumal (or as he calls her, Amma), who is teaching him Tamil, and her mother, whom he calls Pati, who have adopted him. He acts as a leader to the rest of the Mysterious Benedict Society. He is very gifted at finding the puzzles in things, much like Constance Contraire. He is also the one who devises most of the plans, and he considers himself alone, though he realizes that he finds happiness with the people who love him.
George "Sticky" Washington is also a twelve-year-old boy. He is characterized by his intelligence and ability to remember a lot of what he reads—hence his nickname, for everything sticks in his mind. He strongly prefers this nickname to his given name, George Washington. Sticky ran away from his home after feeling that he is not wanted by his parents, but is now living in his home with his parents again. He has tea-colored skin and is bald because he used hair remover to disguise himself. Sticky also has a bad habit of polishing his spectacles whenever he gets nervous. Sticky also ran away because his brain needed a rest from contests that his parents entered him in for his intelligence. His family spent a fortune finding Sticky, leaving them very poor. In this book, Sticky is becoming more comfortable with his gifts.
Kate Wetherall is an energetic thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her father Milligan on a farm; her mother died when she was a young child. Kate has long blonde hair and watery blue eyes. Kate possesses unparalleled strength, speed, agility, and endurance, among other things. She can be considered the backbone or powerhouse of the four. Her many awkward-but-useful talents (such as regurgitating things) are very prized and prove pivotal for the welfare of the group.
Constance Contraire is the fourth child of the group. Though she at first does not appear to have any special abilities, her bravery and stubbornness ultimately prove to be a great asset. Constance can detect patterns in things, and though it may seem like she is psychic, Constance merely recognized patterns and unknowingly can predict the near future. She has wispy, light blonde hair and pale blue eyes. Constance is only three years old, which explains her frequent napping and obstinacy.
Mr. Benedict is a little older-than-middle-age man who recruits the children that later call themselves the Mysterious Benedict Society. He is the one who discovered the plans of his twin brother, Ledroptha Curtain. He is the founder of the Mysterious Benedict Society, and is the smartest of them all. He is afflicted with narcolepsy, and in this book seeks a cure; one that may help cure this disease.
Mr. Curtain is Mr. Benedict's evil twin brother, who has kidnapped Mr. Benedict and Number Two in the attempt of taking over the world. He wears silver glasses and green plaid suits, and usually makes his way around in a motorized wheelchair. Like his brother, he suffers from narcolepsy, but his condition is triggered by anger as opposed to laughter. His real name is Ledroptha.
Rhonda Kazembe is Mr. Benedict's adopted daughter. She comes from Zambia. She is also, like Number Two (Shown Below), an assistant to Mr. Benedict, though she does sleep. She is quite beautiful, with very dark skin and coal-black hair. She has a very good memory, almost like Sticky's.
Number 2 is Mr. Benedict's assistant and adopted daughter. She almost never sleeps, and takes sudden food breaks to keep her energy up. She is kidnapped along with Mr. Benedict in this book. Her real name is revealed to be Pencilla in the final book of the series, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma.
Milligan was a spy captured by Mr. Curtain. Though his memories were erased by Mr. Curtain, he managed to escape and eventually became Mr. Benedict's bodyguard. However, near the end of the first book, when the four children are in danger and he desperately needs to save them, that triggers his memory and is revealed to be Kate's father. By the second book many of his physical abilities as a secret agent have been revealed, including being able to devise a lockpick from nail clippings, being able to bend metal bars, and being able to expertly handle his signature tranquilizer gun. As a desperate attempt to save Kate and the others, he jumped down a ravine. He survives the jump, but broke almost every bone in his body. He has blonde hair and ocean blue eyes just like Kate.
The Ten Men are paid workers of Mr. Curtain who dress elegantly and carry briefcases that contains deadly weapons. They are called that way because they have ten different ways to hurt someone. Their names include McCracken, Crawlings, Sharpe, and Garotte. The weapons created by Mr. Curtain himself are to be in the possession of these men.
In a starred review, School Library Journal described the book as "not just a rip-roaring adventure ... but also a warm and satisfying tale about friendship." Kirkus Reviews was less positive, saying that the book "may wear down less patient readers", citing the prose and needless elaborations in several areas. Horn Book Magazine disagreed, saying that "Stewart keeps interest high throughout". They especially praised the "first-rate brainteasers", with School Library Journal also commenting that it had "plenty of clever twists".
The beginning of the novel came in for particular criticism, with Horn Book Magazine complaining of "a few treacly initial scenes" and School Library Journal saying that "[t]he action takes a while to get going". However, comparing it overall to its predecessor, Horn Book Magazine felt that it was "a worthy successor" - although Kirkus Reviews said that it "has more of an air of trading on the previous one's cleverness than building on it."
A sequel for this book, and also the third and final book in the series, was published October 6, 2009. The title is The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma according to the Little Brown and Company Spring-Fall 2009 Rights Guide. 
- "Best Sellers : Children's Books". New York Times. 2008-05-25. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
- "The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart". School Library Journal. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
- "Editorial Reviews, as archived on BarnesAndNoble.com". Kirkus Reviews. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
- "Trenton Lee Stewart: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey.". Horn Book Magazine. 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
- "Little Brown and Company Spring-Fall 2009 Rights Guide (Microsoft Word Document".