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*****

There May be a Castle
Piers Torday


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Emily Faber, 9
Piers Torday's stand-alone novel, There May be a Castle, (now available in paperback) is very different from his award-winning trilogy, The Last Wild, but also deals with significant issues - life, death and our fear of death - and like The Last Wild is many-layered and beautifully written.

There May be a Castle follows 11-year-old Mouse, a dreamer who finds it hard to connect with reality. But his powerful imagination stands him in good stead when he has to go and seek help for his family, after an accident in the snow. It is from this quest that the title is drawn - 'There may be a castle', he is promised by the friends accompanying him on the quest - a horse called Nonky and a dinosaur called Trex, both drawn from his favourite toys. The castle, he knows, is important - could it help save his family? But there is always a villain on a quest and in this story, it is the formidable Pink Knight who breathes death and destruction. As the journey unfolds, Mouse's determination to finish, to find the castle that will save his family, brings him closer to the Pink Knight and to the end of his quest.

This is a powerful and wonderfully-imagined story that shows the power of a child's imagination; the way love can overcome fear; and how we are all writing our own stories in each day we live. Older children will be able to uncover what lies behind the imaginative world that Mouse conjures; younger readers will enjoy the quest. All will be drawn in to Mouse's brave endeavours, no more so than in the ending. Be warned, you will shed tears, and I'd suggest reading this before loaning it as it involves themes of bereavement. Recommended for mature readers aged nine years plus.

368 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Emily Faber.


 
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