The Inventors By Alexander Gordon Smith and Jamie Webb Published by Faber and Faber ISBN 978 0 571 23310 6 Cat and Nate share a hobby: they love inventing. They are geniuses when it comes to making weird and wonderful objects that sometimes do what they are supposed to and sometimes go disastrously wrong. The automatic dresser that Nate thought would change the way we get dressed is a case in point. It looked good on paper. The model worked well. But when Nate installed the machine in his bedroom, he ended up stuffed in a cupboard and the room looked like a bomb had hit it. Mum and Dad were not pleased. But Cat and Nate are used to setbacks and their enthusiasm for creating gadgets is never diminished when one of their inventions goes wrong. Their parents and headmaster put up with them because they know the two teenagers are masterminds at inventing. They know it's only a matter of time before one of their inventions changes the world. Cat and Nate are a perfect inventing duo: Nate is the brainbox who comes up with the ideas and there is nothing Cat can't put together with a screwdriver and a few odds and ends. A partnership like theirs is bound to come up with the goods one day. The golden chance for the two intrepid inventors comes out of the blue. They hear about a young inventor's competition organised by the one-and-only Ebenezer Saint. Mr Saint, a mixture of Bill Gates and Willy Wonka, is the world's greatest inventor. He runs a massive manufacturing company called Saint Solutions. The prize is to spend a year at Saint Solutions under the personal guidance of the great Mr Saint himself. This is the opportunity Cat and Nate have been waiting for. After a few false starts, the two inventors find themselves living on the breathtaking campus of Saint Solutions with all the resources they have ever dreamed of and Mr Saint on hand to help them. But Mr Saint is an eccentric, mysterious figure with a hidden agenda. Once he has got Cat and Nate under his wing, they soon discover that Ebenezer Saint is at the centre of a sinister plot to achieve total world domination. Can the two inventive teens stop him? The Inventors is a terrific story that speeds along at an entertaining and breathtaking pace. Full of situation comedy, jokes and suspense, Smith and Webb's debut novel is refreshing, imaginative, edge-of-the-seat stuff. In a novel like this, the story and the characters need to be just a little over the top and Smith and Webb achieve a perfect balance between the real and the fantastic. The Inventors is a joy to read from beginning to end. John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com .