A Cassandra Virus novel

Cover of The Black Box

Sybertooth, 2011. Cover by Connie Choi.

Something is cutting off Spohrville's communication with the outside world. The phones don't work. There's no radio, no TV -- no internet.

Are eco-terrorists trying to shut down the Mars Relay satellite? That's what the government says, but Jordan and Helen and the sentient virtual supercomputer Cassandra don't believe a word of it. The town is overrun with "birdwatchers" who can't tell a hawk from a heron. Jordan's old enemy, Harvey Number Two of the spy agency Bureau 6, is sneaking around pretending to be a cop on holiday. And archaeologist Uncle William has dug up a very strange black rock while excavating an Acadian settlement. With no land-lines to the site of the dig and wireless communication impossible, Jordan and Helen have no back-up from Cassandra. They've taken on corrupt government agents and industrial spies before, but they've always had Cassandra behind them. It's the twenty-first century. The bad guys have night-vision goggles and interference triangulators. How did Jordan and Helen get stuck with a bunch of musket-toting War of 1812 historical re-enactors as their only allies?

Curious about Spohrville? This fictional Nova Scotia town is the creation of my friend Paul Marlowe, whose two YA steampunk novels, Sporeville and Knights of the Sea, are set there back in the nineteenth century.

• Honourable Mention, Ontario Library Association's Best Bets for Children 2011 list

Resource Links magazine's 2011 Year's Best list


"There is something about K.V. Johansen's writing that grips me and pulls me in. ... I found myself thinking of the story and characters for days afterwards... Johansen has again constructed a cleverly woven tale, with no loose ends or inconsistencies. Her characters are interesting and true to life." ~ Karyn Huenemann, Resource Links