This is the third and final (?) book in the Mister Max series. Max now knows that his parents have been forced to play the part of King and Queen in the far off South American country of Andesia. Max fears that they are in danger and works to find a way that he and his grandmother can travel to Andesia and rescue them. He finally gets himself a place in a diplomatic expedition to the Andesian king, but when they arrive they find that the political climate in the small country is very complicated and perilous. It takes all of Max's "solutioneering" power to find a way to save his parents without losing his head.
This is kind of an odd series. The setting is almost realistic, but not real. Max's success at pretending to be an adult is almost believable, but not quite. Especially in this book, there is not a lot of action. Most of what goes on is going on in Max's head, and in the minds of the other characters as they try to figure out a way through their challenges. Even with all these oddities, I found that I really enjoyed this book and the whole series. The idea that Max could pass himself off in a host of different adult personas is rather appealing. Voigt fully develops all the characters, and their interactions flow from their complex personalities. I didn't know if the main Andesian leader was a good guy or a bad guy until the very end, and even then it was a little ambiguous. I think I will end up giving this book to older readers who have read a lot and are looking for something a little more sophisticated than the average kid's novel. (338 p)