This YA novel by newcomer Jack Croxall is a wonderful story of adventure set in Victorian London.
Two weeks ago 13 year old Karl was caught trespassing
in a village neighbours garden but before he is caught he sees, through the
window, an engraved silver box which looks out of place among the clutter of the
house. Although told by his mother to stay away, he returns with his friend
Esther. There is no sign of the box, or Mr. Statham, the neighbour so Karl and
Esther break in, only to find out they are not alone! They escape the other
intruders, barely, but not before Karl discovers a note book under the
This notebook is the start of a journey that will lead the
two children from their tiny village of Shraye to the by land and by river to
Nottingham, with peril at every turn and enemies round every corner Karl and
Esther will need all the help they can get from their new friends to stay alive
and out of denger.
I was quite surprised to find this is Jack Croxall's
first book. The characterisation is a joy and the setting is such that rather
than reading the story you, at times, feel you are there.
As a story it
reminded me, as others have noted, of the Sally Lockheart novels of Phillip
Pullman, by way of The Famous Five. A wonderful debut and hopefully the story is
not over yet.
If you have a young adult reader, treat them to this book,
if not, treat yourself