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Author: Gary L.  BLACKWOOD
Publisher: Dial
Subject/Category:  4-7
Year Reviewed:: 2015
ISBN: 9.7808e+012
Review: In 1835, the predictable, safe life Rufus has always known is forever changed now that his minister father has been put into a Philadelphia debtor's prison. He must support himself, and chess genius is his only marketable skill. At first, Rufus feels honored to be employed as the secret operator of a chess-playing automaton, but now he finds himself almost enslaved by the cruel owner of this show apparatus. Those who previously did Rufus' job have mysteriously disappeared, which means his own life may be in danger. A cast of fictitious and historical characters, including P. T. Barnum, Edgar Allan Poe and his teenage wife among others, combine with suspense and mystery to offer a unique glimpse into this slice of American history.

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