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Angus is his actress mother's 'Mr Dependable,' taking care of his younger brother and sister as she works her way through a succession of TV series and failed marriages. He dreams of being a pirate - the 'Bumface' of the title - roaming the high seas in search of adventure, absolved of adult responsibilities. He meets 10-year-old Rindi, trapped in preparations for an arranged marriage in India, longing to remain in Australia and enjoy her childhood. They scheme hilariously - and poignantly - to prevent both Rindi and Angus' mother marrying. Gleitzman's gift for burlesque is used to full effect - the opening pages of the book are startlingly funny - but a consideration of serious issues and their effects on ordinary lives runs insistently near the surface.