Monday, 30 April 2012

Retro Books

In Friday's post I recieved an advance copy of 'Leopard Adventure'.  This may sound like a Willard Price adventure but the award-winning Anthony McGowan has written this story, to be published by Puffin in July, inspired by Willard Price and to clebrate the 125th anniversary of his birhtday!  Retro stories are very popular, classic adventure stories are ocming back into vouge and it is with this in mind that Armadillo reviewer Bridget Carrington posts her thoughts on another book, this one from an independent publisher, with a retro feel.

The strapline promises ‘Beasts, Baddies and Bombs’, which is spot on, but we should also add Biggles into this mix. In The Bother in Burmeon by S.P. Moss (Circaidy Gregory Press 2012) the author has created a twenty-first-century retro adventure story very much in the Biggles style, in which the RAF and flying, danger and heroism feature big time. The difference is that Susan Moss has added a timeslip element in which Billy travels back to 1962 and meets his dead grandfather, then an RAF pilot on a secret mission to the imaginary country of Burmeon.

Billy is a fairly lonely boy in his twenty-first-century life, bullied at school and an only child with parents who are absent for much of the time. As a result he spends holidays with his Gran, and it’s then that he is transported back to his Grandpop’s exciting life fifty years before. We see what England was like then (and Moss has images of many of the things from then that inspired her story at, and we experience an old-fashioned adventure in which Billy’s twenty-first-century knowledge and possessions can cause the occasional problem!

Readers may question the portrayal of ‘Radar’, the son of Flight Sergeant Singh, Grandpop’s right-hand man. Radar’s characterization fits well with the Biggles era but less comfortably in a novel written now. Nevertheless Billy’s final discovery about this brave, loyal friend he made in Grandpop’s time is a nice touch. Altogether, although Moss’s story would have benefitted from tighter editing, it could make a welcome modern addition for fans of the classic children’s adventure story.

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