In this 1985 sequel to The Chocolate War, it is early spring and Jerry Renault has returned to the New England town of Monument after recuperating with relatives in Canada. Obie, the go-fer for sadistic Archie Costello and the Vigils gang, has fallen in love and wants to escape Archie's influence. But a rival for Obie's position, Bunting, conducts a surprise attack on Obie and his girl with Archie's tacit approval, and Obie vows revenge on both tormentors. A new student, a transfer from Cape Cod named Ray Bannister, has kept to himself, practicing magic tricks, including the construction of a trick guillotine. Obie befriends Ray and hopes to use the fledgling magician and his act for his vengeance on Archie. Jerry and Goober, the friend who abandoned him to the wolves in the earlier book, try to decide whether to go along or resist the tide again when the bully who bashed Jerry in the first book comes calling. Brother Leon, the nasty administrator from The Chocolate War, has been promoted to Headmaster, and a suicidal kid named David Caroni will also figure into this bleak plot.
This report prepared by David Loftus