Kip Bramley receives a very cryptic message that invites him to try and solve a riddle; this in turn brings an invitation to become a student at the Quicksmiths College of Strange Energy. The school is full of wonderfully eccentric staff and students and Kip feels far more at home there than he did at his previous school. He and his new friends Albert, Leela and Timmi soon find themselves embroiled in an adventure. The founder of the school Eartha Quicksmith, who lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, has left a message in which she reveals that the Earth will face a tremendous danger unless someone can solve a sequence of 10 hidden riddles and find her “Ark of Ideas”; however there are only 10 days in which to solve all the challenges. Everyone at the school is determined to find the treasure and Kip desperately wants to succeed as it might be a way to help his mother, who has been in a care home after being struck by lightning a few years previously. The problem is that not everyone has good intentions and the group of friends find themselves up against a dark and threatening opponent as they undertake their task. The question of whether they will succeed has us sitting on the edge of our seats as the adventure unfolds at a tremendous speed.
This is a real roller coaster of a ride, where people are not always what they appear to be and where having good friends becomes more important than Kip has ever realized. At the heart of the story is Kip’s desire to help his mother and bring his family back to the way it was when he was a small child. At Quicksmiths he finds a world where science and magic seem to combine and he hopes that he can channel his ‘strange energy’ into a way to help his family. The school seems to be a mix of Hogwarts and Back to the Future, with hoverboards called Skimmis and wonderful pets such as the Mowl and Kip’s own Pinky (possibly a hamster of gerbil). There is a lot of humour, masses of puzzles and a mystery that they just have to solve. I am looking forward to the next adventure for this group of heroes and also to finding out more of the secrets at Quicksmiths.