A & C Black
There’s a beautiful fullness in the symmetry between the opening and close of this novel as Katie and her friend Pauline climb their tree. The tree itself is grounded in the presents with far-reaching roots… from the boughs of the tree is a standpoint with an enviable panorama into the future.
Simon and Schuster
‘Look at me, Elizabeth. Do you think I’m wicked? Do you think I’m a devil? In my time everyone was a Catholic, because there was only one Church, but even then I was different from the others because of the shadow land. Don’t let your mind be clouded by what other people have told you. Judge me with your heart.’
The Colossus of Rhodes by Caroline Lawrence
Having read about a forthcoming television series to be made of Caroline Lawrence’s popular Roman Mysteries series by the BBC, I was compelled to catch up with the antics of Flavia and friends. The most recent paperback, The Colossus of Rhodes, takes to the sea, with the usual appealing mix of mystery, history, humour, myth and adventure. Each of the Roman Mysteries tends to focus on one of the four main characters – and this is Lupus’s story. Setting sail from Ostia in Lupus’s ship, with Flavia’s father as Captain, the friends embark on their latest mission – to find and free the children kidnapped into slavery by the evil Venalicius the slave-dealer. Lupus also has his own agenda – to fulfil a sacred oath to himself to find his long-lost mother.
Mark Bartholomew ill. by Jan Evans
Educational Printing Services Limited
It is exciting stumbling unexpectedly upon a book that catches one unaware, making one both think and feel in a different way than before. Whispers in the Woods is such a book. It is a traditional and at once quiet tale that looks back to medieval life and traditions, in so doing offering peace and solace from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
David Fickling Books
It’s important ‘ crucially important ‘ not to lose sight of the dual function of historical fiction. It is not its sole preserve to document historically accurate fact ‘ that position is held, to lesser or greater degrees, by history books. Historical fiction aims to make an artistic statement brought into rapid relief alongside the backdrop of history. It’s indisputable value then is that it triggers within readers a shift in perspective.
Set in the American Civil War, Chance of a Lifetime opens with protagonist Jacquetta May Logan staying with relatives Aunt Clem and her ‘unbearably lonely’ cousin Mattie. Jacquetta’s genial life of deportment, sewing and riding is shattered by the advancement of the Union army and its seizure of her family’s plantation. Together with her trusty steed Chance, Jacquetta escapes by cover of darkness and embarks upon a series of adventures, daring and intrigue that lead to the eventual liberation of her family’s Morgan horses’
Oxford University Press
Cyrano de Bergerac and his cousin Roxane are a couple of literature’s most frustrated lovers. Fifteen years after the death of Roxane’s late husband, Christian de Neuvillette, their relationship remains constrained by his memory.
David Fickling Books
[Yet again I must follow the ministerial code and declare an interest. K.M. Peyton very kindly helped me with my writing and with general advice when I was just getting started. I’ve always been in awe of her writing ability.]
‘ and Ellen herself is, within a few pages, to be involved in a prank that leads to her imprisonment and subsequent transportation to Australia.
Hodder Children’s Books
Think Moll Flanders for the younger reader, but if that description puts you off, then consider this simply as an exciting story about thieves, highwaymen, gang warfare and disguise. It is 1739 and Charley Feather has just seen Dick Turpin hanged. This is a salutary experience as thirteen-year old Charley is a highwayman too, a member of a gang led by the notorious Jack Wild. When Wild is captured, Charley has to run and ends up heading for London with the suave ‘Frenchy’. He has a plan for survival which involves playing a dangerous game of trickery, and Charley is caught up in it.
David Fickling Books
Anything from the David Fickling YA stable is likely to be substantial, well-written and worth a lot more than a glance. The 400-page Ithaka lives up to these expectations: and yet, for all the brain fodder it offers, all the drama, the big human questions and the beautifully-crafted language, one can’t help wondering how many teenagers will really go for this.