This suspense-thriller novel is the first book in the "I, Q" series by Roland Smith and is published by Sleeping Bear Press.
Independence Hall is written for kids ages 10 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness..
Thirteen-year-old Quest Munoz is known as Q and wants to be a magician someday. His mother, Blaze, who is a singer, marries a man named Roger, who is also a songwriter-singer. His daughter is 15-year-old Angela. Her mother, Malak, was a Secret Service agent, and Angela excels in observation and Tae Kwon Do. Their parents' first CD hits platinum, so the parents and children choose to go on tour in a large bus; the kids are home-schooled. When the bus breaks down, a roadie named Tyrone Boone, who is really an ex-Secret Service agent, becomes their driver. When Q and Angela's parents leave to make guest appearances on talk shows, Boone watches the kids. The two realize they are being followed and eventually learn that Boone is a private agent working with other former Secret Service agents. They are there to protect the kids because there is a question as to whether Angela's mother is still alive. An Israeli intelligence unit has been trailing Q and Angela because they think Angela's mother is alive and is a terrorist. After many clues, a few scuffles and a lot of spy tricks, Angela and Q meet her mother who is deep under cover to stop terrorism. They are not allowed to tell their newly married parents about her, and there is a promise of more adventures to come.
Q's mother and Angela's father gave up their careers to raise their children. Q's father is known as being an unbalanced but brilliant musician, and Angela's mother was a Secret Service agent. Blaze and Roger have returned to the stage, and they intend to bring their kids with them as they travel to new gigs. Yet, with the wedding and publicity rounds they make, they don't have too much time to spend with the kids. Therefore, they do a lot of calling and texting. Tyrone Boone is an ex-Secret Service agent who has the kids' best interests in mind. He initially lies to them about his secret identity, but eventually tells them the whole truth about his role in their lives and lets them decide how they want to proceed. In a couple of places, Boone explains how government agencies, such as the FBI and the CIA, are ineffective.
A few darns are present. There is mention of a man being tortured and killed, and a bomb goes off that supposedly kills Angela's mother. There is an intentional car wreck where the kids' driver is hurt and has blood on his face. Angela uses her Tae Kwon Do, causing one man's face to swell and a woman's shoulder to pop out of joint. The Massad talk about kidnapping a woman, and there is a lot of mention about terrorist cells.
At one point, Q asks Angela whether their parents (Blaze and Roger) are legally married if Malak is still alive. Angela looks worried, but says that Malak has been pronounced legally dead. The subject isn't mentioned again, and Blaze and Roger are not told that Malak is alive.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
Note: The home schooling in this story consists of kids occasionally doing things over the Internet, which isn't a true representation of home schooling.
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