Susan Moore, Crimson Poison

Nosy Crow, 2016, ISBN 978-0-85763-449-8

Nat Walker is a 12 year old orphan, heiress to a computer company fortune, a fortune that makes her conniving aunt Vera desperate to become her legal guardian. Nothing could be further from Nat's wishes. She misses her parents desperately but loves the freedom of living on a junk in Hong Kong harbour with Jamuka, the Mongolian guardian her parents chose for her. She also loves martial arts, her friends Wen and Henry and her dragon robot Fizz. He's is a bit out-dated now, but her father made him for her, and she could not bear to be without him. When Jamuka is urgently called back to his home country to save his clan from terrible danger, Vera seizes her opportunity, but with the help of her friends and the joint power of their robots, Nat escapes her clutches, at least temporarily. She too heads for Mongolia. It is not only Jamuka and his clan that are in peril. A powerful gang have discovered a way to develop a deadly poison, and intend to use it to ensure world domination.

In this first book of a trilogy, Susan Moore has created a highly resourceful and attractive protagonist and an interesting cast of supporting characters, not least the wonderfully villainous Vera. The pet robots are a delightful invention, and there are lots of other intriguing technological touches. Readers who enjoy excitement and adventure will find plenty here to keep them gripped. Settings range from a futuristic Hong Kong to pirate-infested seas and freezing Mongolian wastelands teeming with wolves.