This new novel follows the success of Phil Earle’s When the Sky Falls. Not exactly a sequel, it is also set in the Second World War and like his earlier novel, has at its heart the relationship of children and animals. It is a tale of the period before the blitz: the ‘phony war’ when neither government nor people knew exactly what to expect from the coming conflict. Children were being evacuated out of the major cities and, at the same time, the government advised families to have their pets destroyed. Our hero Noah has no intention of allowing himself to be sent out of London or having his dog Winn put down. He recruits distraught children and bewildered animals from the death queue outside the vet’s surgery, and, pressing his father’s clapped-out motor boat into use, he and his companions set off up the Thames to Windsor. They are in search of an eccentric countess who they believe may provide a safe country home for their beloved pets. It is a desperate adventure that begins badly when many of the pets, hidden overnight on the boat, make their own disorganised escape. Nor is Noah too happy with some of the passengers who remain on the small boat as they cast off, particularly bully boy Big Col and his python, and Samson, an unaccompanied donkey in a straw hat. Plenty of adventures follow, perhaps too many for credibility, including a crashed Spitfire, but Earle grounds the tale in the very believable relationships between the three children who remain on board: impulsive, brave and sometimes reckless Noah, sensible and resourceful Clem, and Big Col, whose belligerence and discontent is balanced by his touching concern for his python Delilah, and who proves to have at least one useful talent. There is both humour and pathos in Earle’s story. The children and their animals, as in any war, endure violence and tragedy. And not every one of the companions survives to enjoy the happy ending.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Andrea Reece http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Andrea Reece2022-06-04 11:00:452022-07-20 17:01:21While the Storm Rages