Book Review, Uncategorized

BOOK REVIEW: Spylark by Danny Rurlander

– Short Review –

The cover and title of this book make you think of James Bond and, indeed, there is a decent villain, spy in the making and plenty of thrilling action within this story.  Set in the Lake District it follows Tom and his new friends as they foil a plot to assassinate the Queen.
If you enjoy the Young Bond series by Charlie Higson this will be right up your alley

– Longer Review –

The three word description of this book by Chicken House is “Action – Mystery – Adventure” and there is certainly plenty of all three from start to finish.
Tom lives in the Lake District with his great-aunt.  His Dad is missing in action, presumed dead, and Tom himself has had an accident which has left him with difficulties walking.
This has made him a target for three bullies at school and consequently he spends a lot of time in his “shed” playing computer games, or so great-aunt Emily thinks.  In fact, Tom is actually a bit of a technical whizz.  He’s created a series of drones which he flies around the local area – seeing the lakes, hills and scenery with a birds eye view.   Emily is too busy running her guesthouse to monitor what Tom is up to and, in fact, has some long term guests due to arrive.  She’s looking to Tom to entertain their two children, Joel & Maggie, during their visit.
He’s not really enthused about baby-sitting a pair of strangers and retreats further into his “boy cave” to fly Spylark, his top notch drone.  During this flight he spots a trio of individuals acting suspiciously and so starts a catalogue of strange events and coincidences.  Peculiar movements on the lake from overpowered boats, an unknown ice cream van that doesn’t seem to be selling anything and a plethora of unusual activity.
He’s concerned by what he’s seen and ends up confiding his worries to Joel & Maggie.  Between them they realise there’s a serious plot afoot to assassinate The Queen.  Who though is going to believe a bunch of kids spouting what seems to be a far fetched plot from a spy movie?
In the great tradition of an action packed novel they decide to tackle the problem head on.  With top secret lairs to infiltrate, plots to scupper and technology to harness (all whilst trying to avoid Tom’s bullies) this is a non-stop action packed tale.
James Bond would be proud of their daring and Q would be immensely impressed by the gadgetry.  On the surface, this has all the hallmarks of a “boys tale” but, thanks to the inclusion of feisty Maggie, this has something for everyone – boys, girls, kids or adults.
A cracker of a tale that will keep those pages turning – I’m sure Tom has plenty more adventures in him!
Spylark is published by Chicken House Books and is available here.
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Danny Rurlander

Danny studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia, where he also learned to fly with the RAF.  He has lived in Austria, Kenya, Devon and Australia but always longed to return to the Lake District where he grew up messing about in boats and camping on islands, and where his first novel, Spylark, is set.  He now lives in Lancaster with his family and works on the staff team of a city centre church.  He loves exploring wide open spaces with an Ordnance Survey map, writes late at night, and firmly believes in the power of a good story.

Reviewed by Angela Paull

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