It is 1909 and 14-year-old Tom Jupe dreams of being a photographer or better still a cameraman in the brand new motion picture industry. But his parents are ‘Prims’ – Primitive Methodists and deeply suspicious of kinemagraphics. When a company of film makers moves into Tom’s little Sussex town however, he can’t keep away, even though it means deceiving his parents, and soon he is living a double life as Daniel Lyons, his choice of pseudonym inspired by his bible studies, helping the crew, playing a part in a film and, at the book’s climax, defending the company against the violent attentions of the sinister ‘busters’.
This is an unusual and original story told with pace and a good deal of humour. Apps brings the early twentieth century to life with skill and warmth, packing in lots of information and detail together with a real sense of affection and respect for his characters.