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A suspenseful story, The Tempering is woven around Karl and his two friends Jame and Andy. The jealousy, suspicion, and ethnic tensions in a small town are realistically depicted where the fear of losing jobs, the fear of losing life and limb in mill accidents, and the fear of the towns wealthy bosses are as real as the smoke-clogged skies. Young readers will also learn of bad working conditions and poor wages in the pre-union working world of the early twentieth-century, as well as the love, kinship, and neighborhood decency forged amidst these conditions.
The Tempering encourages further study in Pennsylvania history, labor relations, and immigration. Though the steel mills of Duquesne were leveled in the 1980s, young readers will gain an understanding of how strength and spirit created and sustained a community of people who lived, worked, and died with the making of steel.
Imagine a life of virtual reality—a childhood contained in a controlled environment, with no human contact. Corgan has been genetically engineered for quick reflexes, high intelligence, and physical superiority. He is unbeatable in battle. But he lives his life in a lonely module. What is a real sunset like? Or a friend?
When he meets fellow teens Sharla and Brig, Corgan begins to doubt the Federation, whose decisions he has unquestioningly obeyed. Life outside virtual reality may be for him. His fourteen years of training are about to end as the real challenge approaches. But he can’t lose focus now: He must win a virtual war, or the Western Hemisphere will be lost forever.
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