|The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle by Ray Filby|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A thoroughly readable and enjoyable adventure in which technology takes precedence over magic and resourceful children come through for their country.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: January 2019|
|Publisher: Midhurst Publishing|
Jason likes chess. He's pretty good at it too - a level eight on his computer programme, with level ten being Grand Master level. He's also good at systems, having contributed to the relational database that has streamlined his school's administration. Jason's school, Easingdale Comprehensive, is very big on technology and its head, Mr Johnston, is keen to involve his pupils wherever they show promise. So Jason's friends have also helped out. Liz is great with hardware and helped with the school's card reader system. Becky has a flair for software and has recommended lots of curriculum-enhancing apps. And Bill is a talented programmer...
...so far, so geeky and techie. But Jason and his friends are about to encounter a new friend. And although this friend will introduce himself via technology and a hidden part of the internet, he is as far from a technical being as you could imagine. But what could this otherworldly messenger want with our four friends? He has a mission for them, of course!
A gang of forgers has taken over nearby Easingdale Castle as a base for operations. The gang plans to destabilise the UK economy by flooding it with forged £20 notes. This gang is well-prepared - flying under the radar so making it impossible for the police to get a search warrant. And, even if they did, Easingdale Castle has a moat and drawbridge and the gang would be able to flee with the evidence long before the police could gain access.
Can Jason and his friends use their technical talents to foil this dastardly plot? Read the book to find out! They'll certainly need a little help from their messenger friend, but that's all I'm telling you.
The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle is a great adventure story. Jason and his friends can't rely on magic or supernatural abilities to foil the plot. They must rely on their own wits, ingenuity and resources. They pool their skills and come up with detailed plans that take every contingency into account. For example, the gang is armed with a gun and although the friends have infiltrated the castle they cannot allow the gang to know this. So they replace the ammunition with blanks - even though teenagers buying blank ammunition is a challenge in itself. Happily, all this detail doesn't detract from the narrative drive and you're always keen to turn the page. Magic is fun but I really enjoyed this story's emphasis on technology and the resourcefulness of young people.
If I had a criticism, it would be the illustrations in the book. They're royalty free images taken from the internet. In one way, this is remarkably in keeping with the spirit of the can-do techie story. But illustrations are better when the style is consistent and they can merge with and compliment the text. Here, they tend to break concentration because they're a little random.
But that's just a nit pick in what is a thoroughly readable and enjoyable adventure in which technology takes precedence over magic and resourceful children come through for their country. I thoroughly enjoyed The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle. And I think it will inspire readers to investigate the possibilities of the technology that surrounds them.
You can read more about Ray Filby here.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle by Ray Filby at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle by Ray Filby at Amazon.com.
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