The Warrior in the Mist by Ruth Eastham
|The Warrior in the Mist by Ruth Eastham|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: A thoroughly contemporary tale of a desperate, last-ditch attempt to stop fracking: scary and even heart-stopping at times, it still features the kind of young people you could meet every day at school or on the bus.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 216||Date: September 2017|
|Publisher: Shrine Bell|
|External links: Author's website|
Fracking is a big issue in some parts of the country, particularly in the north, and for Aidan, it means not only the destruction of the countryside he loves but a huge change in his life. Once they start blasting, his dad will lose his job caring for a rich landowner's horses, and he and Aidan will have to leave their home and their friends to live seventeen floors up in a tower block. But despite the protesters' determined efforts the blasting is going ahead, and there is only one small, faint hope – find the tomb of the warrior queen Boudicca, reputedly slaughtered nearby by the Romans in AD 61, so the area can be declared a World Heritage Site.
This is definitely one for the reader who likes his or her (and as two boys and a girl are the main characters in the tale, it is without doubt a book for everyone) stories pretty realistic and contemporary. That may seem a strange thing to say about a story which features mysterious blue flames dancing on the lake, not to mention two or three ghosts, but the young people themselves are charmingly ordinary. They don't have any superpowers, they aren't fabulously rich or brainy: they're just kids who want to stop the big bad corporation from destroying their land. Emmi is wonderfully organised, able to produce trowels and clean clothes at a moment's notice, and endearingly goofy Jon lightens the mood no matter how scary or difficult the situation gets with his pseudo-military jargon, but Aidan, the point-of-view character, is just a boy who loves horses, frets about getting into trouble and misses his mum, who passed away some time before the book opens. He reacts as any one of us would when he first spots the ghosts, and he can't help being really scared when he realises he and his two companions are in serious danger.
There's just enough information here about Boudicca and the Iceni tribe to whet the appetite without any feeling that the reader is being force-fed solid lumps of history. Interesting artefacts are mentioned, and the whole story is set against the town's annual re-enactment of Boudicca's final battle, including what sounds like a thoroughly exciting chariot race. Attentive readers may well suspect who the villain is before the big reveal – after all, there isn't a large cast of characters to choose from – but there are plenty of false clues to distract any trainee sleuths out there.
Bookbag enjoys Ruth Eastham's books, which often have links to the past and which will encourage thoughtful young readers to do further research on the periods mentioned. Try The Messenger Bird about Bletchley Park during World War II, The Memory Cage which features a boy orphaned in Bosnia, and Arrowhead about Norse myths and ballads. In each case ordinary young people are forced into doing extraordinary things, and along the way the author manages to painlessly present a lot of information about her chosen period. It's a gripping, eventful read, and will no doubt attract the attention of all good school librarians.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Warrior in the Mist by Ruth Eastham at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Warrior in the Mist by Ruth Eastham at Amazon.com.
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