Old forces that lay sleeping for many centuries come to life when Jonk, straying from a school group, accidentally finds a gold buckle in a forest. The ensuing resurrection of a giant Green Man is the impetus which propels an evil warlord and his sinister leathermen knights into the world of Jonk and her schoolmates Bill and Arf. The three young people are caught up in a desperate attempt to halt the efforts of the warlord to regain his powers. Who is the mysterious Elizabeth who comes to the rescue of Jonk in the forest? And what is the significance of the gold belt lying in the town museum? These questions draw in the reader; and their answers, as they unfold, all serve to increase the mounting tension as the leathermen and the young people participate in an exciting and unusual race against each other. This overlays the delicately nuanced relationship between the two boys and Jonk, all on the verge of adolescence, and vulnerable to the forces which are suddenly all around.
First published in 1968, Gordon’s fantasy still remains fresh due to his finely-pared prose and lack of references dating his material. This is a book that will recall the works of Susan Cooper and Alan Garner in its delineation of a classic clash when ancient evil enters the present day. Gary Blythe’s vignettes head each chapter, capturing the mood of a tale full of lurking menace.