The Burning Mountain by LJ Adlington
|The Burning Mountain by LJ Adlington|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Enjoyable time slip novel about war and the individual with a slightly supernatural element. The double narrative makes for a satisfying read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: July 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
In AD79, Gaius Justinius Aquila is drenched in grey ash, trying desperately to help the citizens of Herculaneum as Vesuvius erupts around them. In 1943, German paratrooper Peter Schafer finds himself in Naples. Peter has a secret - he's underage, having run away to sign up. Within the year, Peter will find himself defending Monte Cassino against a huge Allied bombardment. Throughout his time in Italy, Peter will have many encounters with Vittoria, an impoverished Neapolitan who steals to keep herself and a ragbag bunch of orphans alive.
And today, Denise and Craig are home alone, waiting for news of their soldier brother who is on a tour in Afghanistan, while their neighbours, the Shepherds, struggle with ill health, encroaching dementia and a story they feel a desperate need to tell.
Something draws these times and these people together. But what is it?
I really enjoyed Burning Mountain. There's a whole Swallows and Amazons thing going on, as Denise and her brother Craig are very often left to their own devices: their father died in Iraq, their brother Rich is serving in Afghanistan, and their mother is working long hours as a nurse at the local hospital. So the two children are left to cook and clean, and have plenty of time for mischief. It's to their credit that the worst of this mischief is to make friends with the slightly odd elderly couple from next door.
It's also all about connectedness. Has fate brought the Shepherds into the children's lives? Or is it simply coincidence? Or does war bring us all together, no matter who we are? The two strands of the narrative explore the effects of war on both soldiers and civilians, and on both horrific presents and potentially troubled futures. It's a great story too, tense and pacy, well-researched, and tremendously subtle. The two strands eventually close in one another, and the denouement is wonderfully satisfying.
My thanks to the good people at Hodder for sending the book.
If they like this time slip motif, they should also read Adlington's The Glittering Eye. Slightly younger readers will also enjoy Time Train to the Blitz by Sophie McKenzie. Those who like the supernatural element a little stronger could look at The Stone Crown by Malcolm Walker.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Burning Mountain by LJ Adlington at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Burning Mountain by LJ Adlington at Amazon.com.
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