This story begins uncertainly with a small group of modern primary school children somehow becoming stranded on an uninhabited offshore island without adult support. But Frank Cottrell-Boyce is a master of his craft, and once into his stride disbelief soon fades away. Witty but also with some serious points to make, endlessly imaginative, never predictable, this is story-telling at its best.
It is narrated by young Noah, who should never have been on the school trip involved but smuggles himself onto it. His presence is not received well by his older sister and her class-mates until it gradually becomes clear that he is the one to go for when it comes to finding possible solutions. He does indeed have something like a magical touch except when it comes to anything to do with the Internet, where he manages to close down the entire world network by accident. Having then to fall back on pre-digital skills and technology is one of the main themes of this story. But the children survive as successfully as those in Lord of the Flies fail to do, a point the author briefly discusses in an afterword. He also disentangles truth from fiction where the Internet is concerned, and some of what he has to say here could well come as a surprise to his readers.
Noah tells his story in the form of letters to his parents which while never delivered are often mysteriously answered. All is revealed at the end in this truly joyous narrative, which manages to be both exciting and very funny. No doubt about it; Cottrell-Boyce is a bit of a genius, and this story is one of his finest achievements yet.