The Lord of Opium

The Lord of Opium

El Patron is dead!  Long live El Patron!   Fourteen year old Matteo Alacran, harvested from a cow and alive as a clone only to lengthen the life of El Patron, now deemed a human being, owns and rules over Opium, the largest territory of the Dope Confederacy.

This book is not a clone of HOUSE OF THE SCORPION and readers who come here expecting to re-read that story will be left wanting.  This book is a sibling with its own identity that exists along side the first book.  This is a book that demands thought and offers up a banquet for consideration.  

As a clone of El Patron, who is Matt?  Will he think and act as El Patron did?  Will he perpetuate his dominance in the drug world and conveniently forget the difference between good and evil when it serves his purposes?  Will he continue the creation of eejits?  Is he vulnerable to assassination just as El Patron was and how will Matt sense who is trustworthy and who has a more personal agenda?

In this sequel to HOUSE OF THE SCORPION, we take a new look at the dictatorship of Opium and this time we are looking through the eyes of a fourteen year old boy who is struggling to find his own balance and his own vision for this world.  

Matt will come face to face with his own origins and will slowly explore the components of his world and begin to create a picture for himself of what his domain contains, what he has the power to do within the walls and without, and will decide who and what matters to him.  Does he want the power that El Patron claimed and defended so viciously?  Is he a human being and does he have the right to deprive others of that status?  Should cloning continue so his own life can be preserved for as long as is medically possible?  

In HOUSE OF THE SCORPION a thread of tension held the story together and led us through, riveted, to what Matt's fate would be as it described the world he lived in.  In this sequel the awareness of the world of Opium with all of its important questions come to the forefront with Matt an explorer who reveals this world to us as he ventures on into the concentric rings of his reality.  

Read this book to explore for yourself what is true.  Read this book for yourself to decide how far you would choose to go were you handed this enormous wealth and power.  What could you do for others?  What could you do for yourself?  Will anyone love you for who you are?  Are you a human being or something else?

Does the natural world matter?  Is it possible to live in a world that is not degraded by drug trade and addiction?  Perhaps the Scorpion Star lurks in our world as well and we are programmed to respond rather than be an individual thinking for ourselves, deciding our own values, seeking satisfaction in a world beyond the media-induced stupor that casts its own resin unnoticed and unchallenged.  412 pages  Ages 10-14  978-1442486249

Recommended by:  Barb


  1. It is 2137 and El Patron has died leaving his clone Matt, not only in charge but considered to be El Patron himself since he is El Patron’s clone.  Matt has spent years learning under El Patron about the Opium Empire but as time goes on Matt learns just how immense this empire really is and does not feel capable of doing it. After all Matt is only fourteen-years-old and he just wants to be a kid not a Drug Lord.

With the help of Cienfuegos and Celia, Matt tries to find his way.  Matt wants to be a good person and turn the land of Opium into a better place but it seems that evil lurks in every corner. Who can he trust? Matt also learns that in order to make some of the changes he needs to do it will require him to do some evil things. Can he follow through and do what needs to be done?

One thing the land of Opium has going for it is that it may hold the cure for the ecological devastation that the rest of the world is facing.  Will that be a help or a hindrance to what Matt needs to accomplish?

This book follows directly behind The House of the Scorpion so if you have not read it you may want to re-read it before starting The Lord of Opium.

Recommended by:  Joleen Waltman, Librarian, Idaho USA

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