The Lord of Opium (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

 The House of Scorpion raised so many questions about what it means to be human, not just with regard to the ethics of cloning, but also in terms of what rights all humans deserve and what qualifies someone to be given those rights.In this sequel to that book, these questions play a central part. El Patron is dead and Matt, his clone, now rules Opium - if he can convince everyone around him that is he is the new Patron. At fourteen, Matt has to make decisions that are far beyond his life experience. His desire to enjoy the riches of Opium are counterbalanced by his memories of what it was like to be classified as non-human, stripped of all rights to life and liberty. Just as anyone might, Matt enjoys the prestige and deference that everyone shows to him. Yet the ugly truth that the subservience he receives comes not from admiration, but from artificial origins cannot be hidden from him. He knows more than anyone that the people around him are not exercising free will. As the new El Patron, Matt finds himself in control of the future of not only Opium and all who live there, but the Dope Confederacy as well. And not everyone around him is happy about that. Matt has the chance to change everything, but does he have the character to do so?Nancy Farmer has created an entirely believable and frighteningly possible future, where the power of the drug lords makes all nations tremble. Matt's story takes place within a social-economic-political structure that gives this book such a rich and compelling background that the reader needs to pause frequently to consider what it means to be human.

— Karen B


As the teenage ruler of his own country, Matt must cope with clones and cartels in this riveting sequel to the modern classic House of the Scorpion, winner of the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and a Printz Honor.

Matt has always been nothing but a clone--grown from a strip of old El Patron's skin. Now, at age fourteen, he finds himself suddenly thrust into the position of ruling over his own country. The Land of Opium is the largest territory of the Dope Confederacy, which ranges on the map like an intestine from the ruins of San Diego to the ruins of Matamoros. But while Opium thrives, the rest of the world has been devastated by ecological disaster--and hidden in Opium is the cure.

And that isn't all that awaits within the depths of Opium. Matt is haunted by the ubiquitous army of eejits, zombielike workers harnessed to the old El Patron's sinister system of drug growing--people stripped of the very qualities that once made them human.

Matt wants to use his newfound power to help, to stop the suffering, but he can't even find a way to smuggle his childhood love, Maria, across the border and into Opium. Instead, his every move hits a roadblock, some from the enemies that surround him...and some from a voice within himself. For who is Matt really, but the clone of an evil, murderous dictator?

Praise For…

“In the much-anticipated sequel to The House of the Scorpion (2002), 14-year-old Matteo Alacrán returns home as the new Lord of Opium…. A vividly imagined tale of a future world full of fascinating characters and moral themes—a tremendous backdrop for one young man’s search for identity.”

* "Most young readers who loved The House of the Scorpion (2002) when it was first released are now adults, and today’s teen audience will need to read the first title in order to fully understand Farmer’s brilliantly realized world…. A stellar sequel worth the wait.”

* "This highly anticipated sequel to Farmer’s National Book Award–winning The House of the Scorpion (2002) begins soon after the funeral of the drug lord El Patrón and the murder of nearly everyone who attended the event. Fourteen-year-old Matt, the dead drug lord’s clone, was originally created to provide spare parts for El Patrón, but is now the Lord of Opium.... Once again, Farmer’s near-future world offers an electric blend of horrors and beauty. Lyrically written and filled with well-rounded, sometimes thorny characters, this superb novel is well worth the wait."

Product Details
ISBN: 9781442482548
ISBN-10: 1442482540
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2013
Pages: 411
Language: English

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