- Simon & Schuster Children’s UK |
- 288 pages |
- ISBN 9781471122682 |
- February 2015
So yesterday whilst doing some spring-cleaning in preparation for a new year, I picked up this wonderful first novel – and first in a planned series – which will entrance readers who are fans of the likes of J.K. Rowling or similar stories full of magic and wonderful characters.
I read this in one sitting, as it was engaging and fast paced. Elphinstone names Northern Lights (Pullman) as her own favourite novel and there are overtones of his work in this fabulous story.
Ten year old Moll Pecksniff has been raised by the gypsies believing she is a foundling and ‘outsider’. Her foster parents Oak (head of the clan) and his wife Mooshie have cared for her as their own and with her best friend Siddy, she has enjoyed an untrammelled freedom growing up in the Ancientwood.
Her only worry has been the recurring nightmare which has plagued her and led her to sleepwalk.
When her cob Jinx is stolen by the evil Skull and his gang, enemies who have long wanted to drive the gypsies from the Ancientwood Moll determines to retrieve her pony. Brave but perhaps foolhardy, Moll’s brush with Skull’s dark clan heralds the unravelling of the meaning of her nightmare, the revelation of her past and the challenge of her quest.
With memorable characters, believable actions and a combination of old magic and dark sorcery, this is very like Rowan of Rin but with the tension taken up several notches.
I look forward to the second instalment due out this year. Do check out Abi Elphinstone’s website for a trailer and other information.
Highly recommended for readers 11 years and up.
PS – Some delightful ‘tweets’ with Abi have resulted in her link for teaching ideas (she is a teacher as well!) plus the promise of a forthcoming Q&A – watch this space!