Island of Thieves by Josh Lacey

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Island of Thieves by Josh Lacey

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A modern-day treasure hunt full of unlikely circumstances, but still an adventure worth a look for the 9+ audience this author brings with him.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849392457

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While Tom's parents have their first childless holiday in decades, our hero is supposed to be staying at his uncle Harvey's flat. Unfortunately his uncle is a roustabout adventurer, and with a clue to a treasure's location is himself going to Peru to seek the rest of the map. When Tom invites himself along he has no idea Harvey is already wanted by Peru's biggest criminal, nor what this impetuous decision will lead too...

This under-14 read starts with a host of contrivances and doesn't let up. However much Lacey grounds his Boys'-Own adventure in historical basis it boils down to things adults would never believe, making this purely a read for children who could put themselves in the (cliff-climbing) shoes of young Tom.

As an adult fan of tweenage reads I found too much that was unrealistic or unremarkable. The interaction with the Mr Big, the location of the rest of the treasure map, the cliff - all create noteworthy elements for the young reader, but for me I saw the globe-trotting adventures Josh Lacey (under a pseudonym) features in books like his Grk series were here stretched too far.

I can however regress far enough to see the narrative drive is more than compelling enough, the baddies dispatched with no stretch of realism, and that Tom is a narrator worthy of our time and attention. But however effective the telling did get, the cinema-in-my-head version of this story remained a weak made-for-TV exercise. The happy-ever-after ending seems to hedge its bets on a possible sequel, and unfortunately I couldn't care less.

I must still thank the publishers for my review copy.

This author's own Misfitz series opener is much more entertaining. We do love The Treasure in the Tower by Rob Keeley.

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Buy Island of Thieves by Josh Lacey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Island of Thieves by Josh Lacey at


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