Tag Archives: Australian author

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Ever since I’d read that Melissa Keil would be the first author to be published as part of The Ampersand Project I was curious to read it.  The goal of the project is to help debut YA authors get published.  Life in Outer Space sounded wonderful and exactly my sort of book.  I was lucky enough to get to read it back in December and I fell in love with it from the first line.  I loved it so much that I’ve read it twice, and I loved it even more the second time around.

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, worry about girls he won’t. Then Camilla Carter arrives on the scene. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his plan. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a plan of her own – and he seems to be a part of it! Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies. But perhaps he’s been watching the wrong ones.

 

I love absolutely everything about Life in Outer Space! It’s full of cool characters that you want to be friends with, great dialogue, pop culture references galore, and hilarious moments that will have you laughing out loud.  Reading Life In Outer Space made me feel like I was at a comic book convention or a book conference, because I felt totally surrounded by people who were just like me.

Melissa’s characters feel totally real and you can imagine seeing them walking down the street or waiting outside the cinema to catch a movie.  Sam’s voice is so authentic that I’m sure Melissa has a teenage boy trapped inside her.  Sam is an incredibly likeable character, from his extensive knowledge of movies and his ability to relate them to real life, to his loyalty to his friends. He’s got a great sense of humour, but he’s also quite awkward.  He says that ‘everything useful I do know about real life I know from movies,’ and I love the way that he proves this frequently throughout the book. All of the other characters stand out too, especially Sam’s friends.  Adrian is the clown of the group, Mike is Sam’s gay best friend, Allison is their tom-boy female friend, and then there is Camilla.  Camilla is the cool new girl who arrives at Sam’s school at the start of the story and quickly becomes part of his group of friends.  She has an unusual name, a British accent, a tattoo, she’s from New York, she has a great smile, and she’s objectively attractive, all of which means she scores highly in Sam’s ‘mental social scorecard.’ Not only this, but she also knows a lot about movies and she wants to be friends with Sam.  I found myself falling for Camilla and I just wanted Sam to hurry up and kiss her.

Melissa’s writing is witty, heartfelt and incredibly funny.  I clicked with Sam straight away and I loved his point of view.  I loved Melissa’s description of characters through Sam’s eyes, like this one of Sam’s dad,

“My father likes Harvey Norman, the Discovery Channel, and for some reason, lizards.  He last smiled in 2008, which is one of the few things we have in common…My dad also looks like me – i.e. sort of like a storm-trooper.  And not the cool Star Wars kind.”

The dialogue is witty and I had to put the book down a couple of times because I was laughing so hard at some of the conversations between Sam and his friends.

I loved all of the pop culture references in Life in Outer Space.  I’m a huge movie geek so I loved all of the references to Sam and Camilla’s favourite movies and their debates about the merit of different movies.  Everything from Superman and Star Wars to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead gets a mention. Every time they would mention a movie I hadn’t seen I wanted to write it down so I could add it to my list of to-be-watched movies.

Life in Outer Space will make you think, feel, laugh and leave you wishing that Melissa’s characters were real.

5 out of 5

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Love YA sci-fi? Grab The Rosie Black Chronicles

The Rosie Black Chronicles is a fantastic young adult science fiction series, written by Australian author Lara Morgan.  The series is published by Walker Books Australia, who also publish some other exciting science fiction/futuristic books for children and teens, including Brian Falkner’s The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack, and Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. 

The Rosie Black Chronicles is an action-packed, fast-paced series set in the not-too-distant future.  There are corrupt organisations, secret plans, a killer virus, rebellions, space travel, a colony on Mars, a touch of romance, and a butt-kicking main character, Rosie Black.  If you like futuristic stories like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Across the Universe, and Legend then The Rosie Black Chronicles is the perfect series for you.

Last week I received a top-secret package from Helios, the secret organisation from The Rosie Black Chronicles with a flash drive containing information about Rosie Black.  I was told to spread the information, so below you will find links to chapter samplers from each of the three books in the series, character profiles, book trailers and an interview with Lara Morgan.  Feel free to print these off and share with readers far and wide.  Next week I’ll have a special giveaway of a complete set of The Rosie Black Chronicles signed by Lara Morgan, so watch out for this.

Rosie Black Book 1: Genesis Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 2: Equinox Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 3: Dark Star Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Character Profiles

Q&A with Lara Morgan

Rosie Black Mini Poster

For more about Lara Morgan and The Rosie Black Chronicles visit www.rosieblack.com

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The Crystal Code by Richard Newsome

What do you get when you mix Tintin, James Bond, and The Famous Five together?  You get Richard Newsome’s Billionaire Series.  So far in the series we’ve followed Gerald, Ruby and Sam to England, France, Greece and India, trying to stay one step ahead of the notorious Mason Green.  In their latest action-packed adventure, The Crystal Code, we join our favourite characters as they make new friends and enemies.

Gerald, Ruby and Sam are meeting up with Alisha and Gerald’s Australian school friend Ox for two weeks of snowboarding in the mountains of California. It’s a dream vacation.

But soon after they arrive—by helicopter, with Gerald’s butler Mr Fry at the controls, of course—the private chalet is attacked. Gerald and the gang escape through a secret passage, only to be pursued on snowmobiles by men with guns across frozen lakes and into the path of a cascading avalanche.

Could this be the work of Gerald’s nemesis Sir Mason Green, recently escaped from prison? Or is someone else behind the attack?Does the old dry cleaning ticket Gerald found amongst Green’s belongings hold the key?And how does an invitation to join the secretive Billionaire’s Club land Gerald in so much trouble?

The Crystal Code is Richard Newsome at his best!  It’s chock-full of everything I love about the Billionaire Series – chases, fights, close calls, awkward situations, sarcastic remarks, laugh out loud moments and memorable characters.  From the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, to Prague, and a tiny island in Sweden, Richard Newsome takes us on a wild ride where the action never lets up.  Whenever I read one of Richard’s books I feel the absolute joy that I remember feeling the first time I read Tintin’s adventures.  They make you wish that you were a billionaire with a crazed mad man threatening your life.  As the characters grow up, their relationships change, so things become a bit awkward between Gerald and Ruby (especially when another girl, Felicity, gets thrown into the mixture).  I really liked the dynamics between the characters, and by introducing new characters into the original trio, Richard has refreshed the series and made it even more exciting.

Richard has also taken the series in a different direction by introducing some new villains.  At the center of the story is a centuries old manuscript that nobody has been able to decipher, and there are two characters that are desperate to get their hands on it.  Tycho Brahe, the mysterious man with the silver nose, is a fantastically sinister character who will stop at nothing to carry out his plans.  There is a lot of mystery surrounding him and Gerald and his friends don’t believe that he can be the man he says that he is.  Then there is Ursus, the man with many names, a shadowy character whose motives are unknown.  They’re both really intriguing characters and I have a feeling we’ll meet them again.

The Crystal Code, and the rest of the Billionaire series, are a must read for anyone, young or old, who love action, adventure and mystery stories.  Grab it from your library or bookshop now and dive into the adventures of billionaire boy, Gerald, and his friends.

5 out of 5 stars

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Books to Treasure: Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

‘This is a tale about a big city.
It’s a tale of hotdogs and music and the summertime subway breeze.
It’s a tale of singing on rooftops and toffees that stick to your teeth.
But most of all, it’s the tale of Herman and Rosie.’

This wonderful little blurb captures the essence of Gus Gordon’s magnificent new picture book, Herman and Rosie.

From the moment I set eyes on the stunning cover of Herman and Rosie, I fell in love with this book.  Every time I see it I want to read it again. You know that this is a story that Gus loved bringing to life because you can see all the love that has gone into the creation of the book.  Each page is so detailed and filled with different characters.  One of things I love to do in Gus’ books is find all the different characters on each page.  For example, on one page, there’s a bear on a scooter, a fox and a mole in suits, and a mother hippo taking her baby for a walk.   One of the things I especially love about the illustrations in Herman and Rosie is the different media that Gus has used on each page. You can see he has used pencil, crayon, water colour paints, photos of objects, coffee cup stains, bits of newspaper and advertisements, and postcards (among various other bits and pieces).  He’s used all of these different types of media in interesting and imaginative ways to achieve different effects on the page.

The story is all about the two characters of the title and Gus really brings them to life.  I think the reason I love the story so much is because both Herman and Rosie are interesting and quirky characters.  I really like the way that Gus describes them and their likes.  Herman likes ‘pot plants, playing the oboe, wild boysenberry yoghurt, the smell of hotdogs in the winter and watching films about the ocean,’ and Rosie likes ‘pancakes, listening to old jazz records, the summertime subway breeze, toffees that stuck to her teeth, singing on the fire escape…and watching films about the ocean.’  By telling us their likes, we figure out that they’ve got something in common.  It’s a story filled with hope and it and leaves you feeling incredibly happy.  It’s guaranteed to cheer anyone up and put a spring in their step.

Teachers or school librarians who are looking for great picture books for older readers should add Herman and Rosie to their collection.  Older readers will enjoy the story and they’ll love the intricate illustrations.

Herman and Rosie truly is a book to treasure and to read over and over again. It will make your toes tingle and make you feel like you have ‘eaten honey straight from the jar.’

5 out of 5 stars

 

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Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

I can only think of a handful of books, among all the books I’ve ever read, that I’ll carry around in my head and my heart for the rest of my life.  Sometimes it’s the characters, the setting, or the feel of the book, and sometimes it’s the combination of all those things at exactly the right time.  When I first read the synopsis of Vikki Wakefield’s latest book, Friday Brown, I had a feeling that it was going to be one of those books.  As soon as I started reading it, I knew I wouldn’t be the same when I’d finished it.

I am Friday Brown.  I buried my mother. My grandfather buried a swimming pool.  A boy who can’t speak has adopted me.  A girl kissed me.  I broke and entered.  Now I’m fantasising about a guy who’s a victim of crime and I am the criminal.  I’m going nowhere and every minute I’m not moving, I’m being tailgated by a curse that may or may not be real.  They call me Friday.  It has been foretold that on a Saturday I will drown…

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Friday Brown is simply one of the most powerful, beautifully written stories I’ve ever read.  It’s one of those stories that you really lose yourself in and emerge several hours later, with your heart aching and a sense of loss.  You know that you’ll never forget the story, the characters, and the way they made you feel.

Vikki’s characters are always extraordinary and she introduces us to a menagerie of different characters in Friday Brown.  There is a sense of mystery about each of the characters in the book, as they all seem to have something they’re hiding or trying to forget.  I like the way that Vikki peels back the layers of her characters throughout the story and, even at the end, you still feel like you don’t know everything about them.  Although we don’t see much of Friday’s mum, her and her family curse are quite an imposing figure throughout the book.  Friday is forever running to escape the memories of her mother and the family curse that killed her.  If there is one character that I wish I could meet in real life it would be Silence.  He’s one of the most mysterious characters, but also the most loveable.  He’d had such a tough life and I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything would be alright.

Apart from Vikki’s characters, I think the thing I liked most about Friday Brown was the mood of the story.  From the first chapter, you get the sense that things aren’t going to end well.  You know that the family curse is hanging over Friday’s head, and this adds a darkness to the story.  You wonder if the curse will catch up to her or will she be able to break it.

Vikki Wakefield’s first book, All I Ever Wanted, was a stunning debut, but Friday Brown has really highlighted her incredible talent.  I would rate her as one of my favourite authors, especially of contemporary YA fiction, and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.  Whatever she does write, I know it will be incredible!

Friday Brown is a book that everyone should read, both teens and adults alike.  You will fall in love with Vikki’s amazing story and make some extraordinary friends along the way.

5 out of 5 stars

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Picture Book Nook: In the Lion by James Foley

‘In the city there’s a zoo.  In the zoo there’s a lion.  And in the lion there’s…’  Richard and his family are visiting the zoo one day when they witness the lion swallowing the zoo dentist whole!  This is only the first of many things that end up ‘in the lion.’  Will anybody be able to stop the lion?

In the Lion is a hilarious picture book about a very hungry lion and the havoc that he causes.  The story gets sillier and sillier at more and more things end up in the lion.  Children will be laughing out loud because they’ll figure out very quickly what is going to happen next.  Just when you think you know what is going to happen on the next page, James Foley surprises us and brings in the hero of the story.  I love James’ illustrations because there are lots of extra details that you might not notice the first time (look at the shadows and reflections on each page). The expressions of the characters in the story (both people and animals) are hilarious, especially at the end of the book.  Every page in the book is illustrated and full of colour, including the very cool end papers.  If there was an award for the best picture book cover it would have to go to In the Lion because it’s absolutely fantastic and will really appeal to children.

The story works well as a read-aloud, but is even better for one-on-one sharing so that you can make the most of the illustrations.  James Foley is a very talented author and illustrator and I’ll look forward to reading more of his picture books.

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Interview with Ambelin Kwaymullina, author of The Tribe

Today I’m joined by Ambelin Kwaymullina, author of the fantastic new futuristic Young Adult series, The Tribe.  The first book in the series, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf was released last month and if you haven’t heard all the hype about it you can read my review here on the blog.  I caught up with Ambelin to ask her a few questions about her hot new series.

  • What 5 words would you use to describe The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

Wow, it’s really hard to describe your own work!  I guess I can describe what I wanted the story to be…although I think it’s really up to my readers to judge. Here goes:

Mysterious. Dramatic. Thrilling. Smart. Hopeful.

  • What inspired you to write The Tribe series?

Mostly, it was Ashala herself. She is such a strong character, that it would have been impossible for me not to tell her story. From the beginning, the first line of the book has always been the same – ‘He was taking me to the machine.’ Those words followed me around for a few days before I began writing, lurking in my consciousness and demanding that I write more. Then, once I started writing, I had to keep going until I reached the end – I certainly couldn’t leave Ashala trapped in the detention centre!

  • The Tribe has a spiritual connection to the land and the creatures that inhabit it which, I think, makes your story unique. Is this aspect of the story from your own culture?

Yes, it is. Aboriginal people, and Indigenous people from all over the world, have strong connections to our homelands and the ancient spirits of our peoples. Ashala’s world is very different to the one we live in now, of course – the tectonic plates have shifted, creating a single continent, and people no longer make divisions on the basis of race. But Ashala’s ancestors were Aboriginal, so I knew she’d have a deep love for the forest that she lives in. And I knew that her connection to country would be a source of strength and courage for her, the same as it is for Indigenous peoples now.

  • Do you know how the Tribe’s story will end or will you wait to see how the story evolves?

No, I know how it ends. Many of the small details are mysterious to me, but I know where all of the Tribe will be, at the end of the story. And, for this particular story, I think that’s important. I don’t think I could tell it the way that it deserves to be told otherwise.

  • Will we find out more about the abilities of the Tribe and where these came from?

 Oh yes. I didn’t have a lot of narrative space to explore this in the first book, but as the series goes on, readers will find out much more about how all the different abilities function, and what their strengths and limitations are. There’s some tough times coming for the Tribe, too – so they’re all going to have to push themselves, and be able to control their abilities a lot better than most of them can now.

  • How did you find the experience of writing a novel, compared to creating a picture book?

Harder! Much, much harder…also, with picture books, I’d gotten used to being able to pore over every single word until I was satisfied the text was completely perfect. It takes much longer to do that with a novel, which was something I hadn’t realised until I was hopelessly overdue on a deadline.  I think, though, that writing picture books, where you have to tell a complete story in not a lot of text, did teach me to be more disciplined with words than I would have been otherwise. That was helpful. On the other hand, I am going to have to learn to restrain my perfectionist tendencies, or I’ll never get the second book done.

  • What books would you recommend to anyone who enjoyed The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

There’s so much great dystopian fiction, and sci fi/fantasy fiction, for young adults – here’s some I’ve particularly enjoyed: Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series, Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn series, Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, and Moira Young’s Dustlands series.

 

The next stop on Ambelin’s blog tour is with Celine at http://forget8me8not.blogspot.com.au/.
 

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Queen of the Night by Leanne Hall

The Text Publishing Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing has introduced me to some of my favourite writers.  The first winner in 2008 was Richard Newsome, author of the brilliant Billionaire’s Curse Trilogy, and the second winner was Leanne Hall, author of one of my favourite books of 2010 called This is Shyness.  In This is Shyness, Leanne introduced us to the suburb of Shyness where it’s always dark because the sun never rises.  This mysterious suburb is home to all sorts of weird and wonderful people, including the Kidds who are hooked on sugar, the Dreamers, and Wolfboy.  The story is focused on one night in Shyness where Wildgirl meets Wolfboy, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since I read it.  Thankfully, Leanne wrote a sequel, which has just been released called Queen of the Night.

For six months Nia has tried to forget Wolfboy, the mysterious boy she met in Shyness.  The boy who said he’d call but didn’t.

Then, one night, her phone rings.  The things Wolfboy says draw her back to the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and dreams and reality are difficult to separate.  The Darkness is changing, and Wolfboy’s friend is in trouble.

And Nia decides to become Wildgirl once more.

Queen of the Night is just as strange, mysterious and wonderful as This is Shyness.  It’s one of those follow-up books where you find yourself right back in that place you loved as soon as you start reading.  I felt that same sense of fascination about Shyness and I wanted to know everything about this mysterious place.  Some of the questions I had from the previous book were answered, but Leanne also added to the mystery and I get the feeling we don’t quite know everything about Shyness and the weird things that happen under the cover of constant darkness.  There is still a lot we don’t know about Doctor Gregory and his strange experiments and I hope that we get to learn more about Diana. I loved being able to get inside Wolfboy and Wildgirl’s heads more in this book, and I really liked the ‘Inception’ vibe in the second part of the story.   Like Wildgirl in the story, I got quite disorientated by Shyness.  I would forget that just because it’s dark in Shyness, it could actually be mid-morning outside Shyness.   If you liked This is Shyness you’ll love Queen of the Night, and if you haven’t read Shyness you need to get your hands on a copy.  I hope that Leanne has more in mind for Wildgirl and Wolfboy because I’m certainly not ready to leave them behind.

5 out of 5 stars

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The Extraordinaires: The Extinction Gambit by Michael Pryor

I’ve been a fan of Michael Pryor’s ever since I first picked up Blaze of Glory, the first book in his Laws of Magic series.  I was captured by the old-style covers and as soon as I started reading I was transported to a world very similar to ours.  The series was full of magic, politics, intrigue, espionage and brilliantly witty characters.  When I found out that Michael had started a new series I was eager to delve into his new story and meet new characters.  His new series is called The Extraordinaires and the first book, The Extinction Gambit, introduces us to a shadowy London where dark creatures lurk just below the surface.

Kingsley Ward knows nothing of his parents.  His foster father, Dr Ward, refuses to tell him how he came to be looking after Kingsley.  On the night that he is to make his professional debut on stage with his death-defying escapology, his performance ends in disaster.  Kingsley has a wolfish nature that bursts free at the most inappropriate times, especially in the middle of his performance in front of hundreds of people.  A strange albino girl called Evadne comes to his rescue and takes him back to his foster father’s house, only to find his father is missing, the house keeper has been murdered, and two abnormally large, very ugly men are ransacking Dr Ward’s library.  Kingsley has no idea who these men or what they have done to Dr Ward.  Evadne takes Kingsley to her secret hideaway and explains that she is part of the Demimonde, the ‘world of the dispossessed and the fugitive, of outlaws, thieves and cutthroats, of the lost and abandoned, of the strange and uncanny.’  Through alternate chapters Michael Pryor introduces us to other members of the Demimonde: Jabez Soames, the human inside the Demimonde who wheels and deals and knows just how to bargain with the various groups in the Demimonde; the True Humans or Neanderthals (depending on whether you’re one of them or not) who want to wipe out the Invaders (Homo sapiens) by travelling back in time and killing them; and the Immortals, a group of immortal sorcerers who need to inhabit the bodies of children to live the longest.  As the story progresses the paths of these various groups cross and it’s up to Kingsley and Evadne to disrupt their plans before it’s too late.

Michael Pryor has once again created a story filled with action, suspense, mystery and fantastic characters.  I loved the idea of this group of shady characters lurking underneath London and having a group of Neanderthals that didn’t die out is brilliant.  The Immortals at first sounded a little like vampires, but I think they’re far creepier.  There’s also a slight hint of the Frankenstein story creeping into this story, as the Immortals create their minions, the Spawn, from their own body parts that they cut off.  Like Aubrey in The Laws of Magic, Kingsley is a fantastic character who is intelligent and witty.  At first I thought Kingsley’s wolfish nature might be hinting at him being a werewolf, but the true is much more exciting, and is linked with Rudyard Kipling who is also a minor character.  Evadne is a girl who can look after herself (and Kingsley at times) and is also incredibly intelligent.  There is a sense that there are many layers of Evadne that Kingsley, and the reader, hasn’t been introduced to yet.   The Extinction Gambit is the perfect book for anyone who likes their supernatural/fantasy stories without the gushy romance.  I can’t wait to see what Michael Pryor has in store for Kingsley and Evadne next.

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Guest Author: Michael Pryor on The Extinction Gambit

It’s exciting to begin a new series. It’s like taking a first step through a secret door leading to places unknown with tantalising prospect of adventure awaiting. The release of ‘The Extinction Gambit’, the first book of ‘The Extraordinaires’, is just like that.

I also have a strange sensation that comes from leaving a series behind. In May 2011, ‘Hour of Need’ – the last book of ‘The Laws of Magic’ – was published. I’d worked on this series for more than eight years, and having it finally coming to an end was most peculiar. I’d lived with those characters for a long time, after all. I’d worked with them, I’d known their hopes, their dreams, their fears – and they’d been very patient with me as I subjected them to the bizarre, the dangerous and the embarrassing. Waving goodbye to them was sad. It was as if they were leaving home, going off and having more adventures and I wouldn’t be there to write about them.

And so, to ‘The Extinction Gambit’. Like ‘The Laws of Magic’, this new series is set in a world that is delightfully old-fashioned. It’s a world of manners and decorum, of society and class, of being dreadfully proper – and of some of the most stylish clothes you’re ever likely to see. Top hats anyone? Gorgeous lace? Silk capes and gloves?

Unlike ‘The Laws of Magic’, ‘The Extinction Gambit’ isn’t set in an alternative Edwardian world. It’s set fairly and squarely in London in 1908 – the time of the first London Olympic Games. The Olympics form the backdrop to a dizzying adventure that mostly takes place in the Demimonde, mysterious world that lies side by side with the ordinary world. The Demimonde is a world of magic, of lost legends and of sinister plots, of inhabitants who are startling, shadowy and highly unpredictable.

The main characters in ‘The Extinction Gambit’ are Kingsley Ward and Evadne Stephens. Kingsley is a young man, seventeen years old, who has decided to put his studies to one side and pursue a life in the theatre. He has always had a dream to be a stage magician. More than that, he wants to be an escapologist, one of that special breed of magician who escapes from handcuffs, from locked trunks, from straitjackets suspended over a pit of crocodiles. At his first ever professional engagement he meets Evadne Stephens, an astonishingly beautiful, outstandingly talented juggler, who also happens to be an albino and an inventor who delights in building frighteningly lethal weapons and other machines of destruction. She also makes an excellent cup of tea.

When Kingsley’s foster father is abducted, Kingsley hurries to find him. Evadne insists on coming along and soon proves her worth as they plunge into the Demimonde. They flee through drains, tunnels and along London’s long lost underground rivers. They battle ancient magic and strange devices. They encounter the last surviving Neanderthals who are fanatically determined to wipe out the human race. They are assaulted by a trio of immortal magicians who want Kingsley as part of their plan to enslave the world. They are assisted by a famous author who seems to have an agenda of his own.

None of this was what Kingsley had been imagining when he stepped onto the stage of the Alexandra Theatre, and it’s made more difficult for him as he constantly has to struggle with a side of him that is wild, uncontrollable and undeniably wolfish. This is only natural, of course, since he was raised by wolves as a young child.

In short, ‘The Extinction Gambit’ is a helter-skelter fantasy comedy adventure with sandwiches, at the appropriate time.

I’ve had a wonderful time writing ‘The Extinction Gambit’. As usual, I’ve had to undertake mountains of research, but this is almost as much fun as writing the actual story. I’ve uncovered surprising details about the underground geography of London, about the organisation of the Olympic Games and about the nature of Homo Neanderthalis. Much of this didn’t end up in the book, but nothing is ever wasted. After all, we have another two books to come in the series!

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