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This Dark Endeavor

This Dark Endeavor

The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

For Ages: 12 and up
  • reading group guide
  • 7awards
Bravery, danger, and intense passion. How does obsession begin?

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real.
     They stumble upon the Dark Library and discover secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies. Father forbids them from ever entering the room again, but when Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is drawn back to the Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Victor, along with his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry, immediately set out to find a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help them create the formula.
     Determined to save Konrad, the three friends scale the highest trees in Strumwald, dive into the deepest lakes, and even make an unthinkable sacrifice in their quest for the elixir’s ingredients. And as if their task was not complicated enough, a new realm of danger—that of illicit love—threatens to end the ordeal in tragedy.
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  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442403161 | 
  • May 2012 | 
  • Grades 7 and up
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This Dark Endeavor Book Trailer

When 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein learns that his twin brother, Konrad, is dying he embarks on a treacherous quest in search of the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at...

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
MONSTER


WE FOUND THE MONSTER ON A ROCKY LEDGE HIGH ABOVE the lake. For three dark days my brother and I had tracked it through the maze of caves to its lair on the mountain’s summit. And now we beheld it, curled atop its treasure, its pale fur and scales ablaze with moonlight.

It knew we were there. Doubtless it had smelled us coming, its flared nostrils drinking in our sweat and fear. Its crested head lifted slightly, almost lazily. Coins and jewels clinked and shifted as its body began to uncoil.

“Kill it!” I roared. My sword was in my hand, and my brother was at my side, his... see more

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

This Dark Endeavor


by Kenneth Oppel

About the Book

In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, fifteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, falls ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin, Elizabeth, and his best friend, Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn. Victor knows he cannot fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love—and how much he is willing to sacrifice.

Prereading Activities

There are names and terms cited in the story that will likely be unfamiliar to most readers. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic research sources to find out as much information as they can about the following: Cornelius Agrippa, alabaster, alchemy, apothecary, Aramaic, Archidoxes of Magic, augury, brazier, cadaverous, cauterize, clairvoyance, codex, divination, gossamer, malodorous, Methuselah, pallor, palpable, Paracelsus, paragon, passata-sotto, pianoforte, Sanskrit, Sturm und Drang, tryst, unguent, and viscera.

Most readers will likely not have r see more

About the Author

Kenneth Oppel
Photograph © Jim Gillett

Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth Oppel is the author of numerous books for young readers. His award-winning Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide and been adapted as an animated TV series and stage play. Airborn won a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award and the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature; its sequel, Skybreaker, was a New York Times bestseller and was named Children’s Novel of the Year by the London Times. He is also the author of Half Brother, This Dark Endeavor, Such Wicked Intent, and The Boundless. Born on Canada’s Vancouver Island, he has lived in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada; in England and Ireland; and now resides in Toronto with his wife and children. Visit him at KennethOppel.ca.

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