Sam had been feeling bored before unexpectedly meeting Max, a Martian whose spaceship has crash-landed on Hackney Marshes. Max has lost his ‘fuel jewel’ and needs urgent help to find a diamond to replace it. Fortunately Max has a diamond detector and tracks down the diamond he needs nearby. Unfortunately the diamond he has located is heavily guarded at the Tower of London. Sam and Max set out together on an exciting and risky adventure which takes them through a secret network of underground tunnels to the heart of the Tower of London. Here they find clever ways to negotiate various problems including distracting the ravens, getting past the guards and getting into the vault while avoiding laser beams. Although they decide to abandon their mission, in the end Max’s problem is solved and he is able to return to his family.
This is an entertaining adventure story about an unusual friendship and working together to solve a problem. Children familiar with Hackney Marshes or the Tower of London will find it of particular interest.
The illustrations are very successful, amusing and detailed with lots to spot, for example the underground tunnels which show clues to London’s past. The book design is clever too with lots of variety in the double page spreads and a very inviting cover which positively sparkles with a shiny spaceship, stars and diamonds. Nice title too with the witty play on ‘Hackney marshes’.