The Elephant Thief
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This is storytelling at its best. From the vivid and dramatic opening scene, the reader is gripped by the amazing story of orphan pickpocket Danny who in 1872 rode an elephant from Edinburgh to Manchester.
The novel is based on the true story of the elephant Maharajah, who was sold by auction in Edinburgh to a zoo-owner from Manchester. The elephant was one of the many exotic animals comprising the assets of a travelling menagerie. Maharajah refused to travel by train, and therefore had to journey by foot from Edinburgh to Manchester - over 200 miles.
Kerr has added lots of extra intrigue and adventure to this eventful journey, with a wager by rival zoo-owner Mr Albright that they can’t get to Manchester in seven days. The big, bluff zoo owner Mr Jameson and his warm-hearted wife are enjoyable characters, and a reassuring presence for Danny. Feisty Henrietta Saddleworth turns out to be a great friend who joins them on their journey. Danny’s relationship with the gentle and longsuffering elephant, and the support of people who care for him, help him to move on from the trauma of his early abuse at the hands of Frank Scatchard, leader of a band of violent criminals and thugs in Edinburgh.