Max Tilt: Fire the Depths

Max Tilt: Fire the Depths
Age Range
Release Date
October 03, 2017
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When thirteen-year-old Max Tilt happens upon his great-great-great-grandfather Jules Verne's unfinished, unpublished manuscript, The Lost Treasures, he doesn't realize that he's found the answers to all his problems. And Max has a lot of problems — his mother is sick, his father is out of work, and his home is about to be foreclosed on. But when Max and his cousin Alex discover that Verne's last work reveals everything he wrote was fact, not fiction, they realize that the book holds the key to something incredibly valuable. A treasure that can save his house — and maybe his entire family.

But Max and Alex aren't the only ones who know about Verne's clues. Spencer Niemand, a strange skunk-haired man who has spent his life researching Verne's works, is bent on reshaping the world with the hidden treasure. To find it first, Max and Alex must go on an adventure that'll take them from the broken remains of an underwater city to the very jaws of a giant squid to the edges of a whirlpool from which no one has ever emerged alive.

This is the first book in a new hair-raising, edge-of-your-seat adventure series from master storyteller and New York Times bestselling author Peter Lerangis.

Editor review

1 review
Journey with Jules Verne
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Max Tilt (short for Trujillo, as his father is Dominican. His mother is African American) is having a number of problems. He is "on the spectrum", and one of the ways this manifests itself is that he has synesthesia-- emotions have smells, and fear always smells like fish. This becomes worse when his parents want to talk to him. His mother has been ill with cancer, but it had been successfully treated. Now, his mother and father are going far away to seek more treatment, and leaving Max with Alex, a cousin he has never met who is not much older than his 14 years. When Alex arrives, she finds the house is a huge state of disarray-- a broken window has leaked rain water onto the carpet, there's little food, and the power is cut off. Not only that, but she goes through months' worth of mail to find that the family is being evicted from the house in three weeks. She uses her savings to pay the utility bills, and she and Max decide to sell items from the house to get money for everything else. One item that draws some interest is a chest supposedly owned by his great-great-great grandfather, Jules Verne. He and Alex take the clues to a treasure out of the chest, but a man named Niemand shows up and gives them a hard time. Realizing that the treasure is most likely real, the cousins embark on an adventure that takes them to far flung corners of the globe and gives them a taste of their forefather's adventures.
Good Points
It's good to see a diverse cast of characters, with different ethnicities and Max's realistic struggles to navigate his world while managing his synesthesia and other challenges. Alex is very capable and understanding, but young enough to embrace the adventure.

Neimand is a formidable bad guy, and characters and settings brought in from Verne's work make this a fresh, new fantasy world.

Reminiscent of Nix's Troubletwisters, Salerni's The Eight Day or Korman's Masterminds, Max Tilt will please readers who like implausible adventures in amazinf fantasy worlds. Lerangis delivers a solid action and adventure books that works in elements of Verne's works in a way that will entice avid readers of speculative fiction to pick up that author.
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