The Hunchback Assignments
are a series of books by Canadian children's and young adult author Arthur Slade
. Initially set in Victorian London
, the books are young-adult Steampunk
spy thrillers, complete with Mad Lib Thriller Title
, and starring Modo, the titular teenaged hunchback of the title.
Modo, a deformed hunchback
, is a baby in gypsy caravan. He is discovered by Mr. Socrates, a highly-placed British intelligence operative, and raised to be one of Socrates' agents. In addition to teaching him tradecraft, martial arts and a well-rounded classification, Modo's training unlocks his innate shapeshifting ability.
Books in the series so far include:
- The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
- The Dark Deeps (2010)
- Empire of Ruins (2011)
Tropes appearing in this series include:
- Action Girl - Captain Monturiol, with Miss Hakkandottir as Dark Action Girl. Octavia and Colette supposedly have combat training, but neither has really displayed any skill thus far.
- Cool Boat - The Ictineo, but also the wooden submarine Filomena.
- Cursed with Awesome - Modo was born with a monstrous physical deformity, but with effort and study can twist his physical features to appear as just about anyone (to date he's only appeared as other men).
- God Guise - Modo is mistaken for the God Face by the Rain People
- Government Agency of Fiction - The Permanent Association, a top secret cabal of highly-placed Britons dedicated to the preservation of the British Empire.
- The Grotesque - Modo.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation - The Clockwork Guild: beyond being a bunch of unethical Mad Scientist types with an army of Mooks and a handful of elite operatives at their command, all that's been revealed so far is their intention to destroy the British Empire.
- Steampunk - Including zeppelins, a Nautilus-esque submarine and underwater city, cybernetic limbs, cyborg dogs, and much more taken from the Verne and Wells toybox.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist - Monturiol, a Captain Ersatz for Verne's Nemo, is presented this way, crippling or sinking ships that threaten her egalitarian undersea paradise of Icaria.