Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Greta and Boris: a daring rescue - have a read of the start

On 29 March, my first novel 'Greta and Boris: a daring rescue' was published by Our Street Books

Here's the blurb:

"Greta’s best friend is her cat Boris. However, little does she realise her bewhiskered buddy is actually the Prince of the Kingdom of Cats. So when he is kidnapped by the Rat King, a young warrior cat named Kyrie Mi-ke is sent to find Greta, and together they face a mystical and magical adventure to bring Boris home again.
Greta must face the challenge of the staircase of the autumn leaves; cross Cloud Top Land and the Milky Sea; end the war between the two tribes of mice and face the truth of the Millpond; before facing the Rat King himself."

Here's what the critics are saying:

"Greta and Boris is touching, exciting, cheeky and vivid, with wonderful characters, a strong narrative and sudden delightful details...Given the many below-par books I've been sent by publishers over the years, Greta and Boris easily exceeds the general standard of publishability. Greta and Boris is billed as a children's novel but it is more of a tale or fable - a fast and picaresque vision quest in which a young hero finds her destiny and with it, of course, her inner strength, which she had all along. It is an adventure that is both heartstopping and heartmeling, at once sentimental and comfortingly predictable (in the best way: we trust in sleek Kyrie's guidance and know that Greta will triumph in the end) and pacy and unexpected. The story's sprinkled with sparkling details, with each location fully realised and a joy to traverse. However this is not some twee animal book about plucky talking cats and four-legged anthropomorphs. Greta is the central character and she receives from Kyrie a wondrous education about feline life. The animal world is a dangerous, equal, varied and interesting place. Quest narratives are a much-loved genre which she tackles with great lightness and ease - brevity (length being the big tedious dragging millstone of countless duff quest books). Hung with featherweight delicacy around the central adventure are lessons of great human import to Greta. There are allusions (never leaden, worthy or obstructive) to climate change, bigotry, the balance of ecosystems, humans' disruption of nature and predatory animal peace pacts. Norris's world is one in which trouble and discord can always be overcome by mutual respect, friendship and peace. the central relationships have a sweet warmth, depicted with an innocent optimism that is ultimately extremely touching and life-affirming."

And here's a delightful extract from the start of the book for you to enjoy:

Swish, swish, was the sound that broke into the stillness of the night. Swish, swish, accompanied with scampering and scratching of claws and paws, rushing forward through grass and fallen leaves towards the palace. And if anyone had been awake to hear it, they would have heard that each scurrying paw-step was landing in time, in the rhythm of a march. A soft thud, thud, swish, swish, echoed through the sleepy kingdom, as only the moon looked down on the onward journey of an army that didn’t want to be seen.
The cats slept on, oblivious to the menace that was slowly surrounding them.
The pack of marching creatures started to head up the hill where the palace stood, imposing and magnificent. In the moonlight, the towering building looked even more beautiful and impressive. The rainbow-colored tiles glistened like tiny fairy lights, a blinding spectacle that illuminated the hills and villages below it. The army continued to advance. As the moonlight reflected off their furry backs, it became increasingly obvious which creatures of the animal kingdom were threatening the peaceful palace of the cats. And there could be no doubt at all, when one of the marching many kicked a stone and let loose a wild and pained ‘SQUEAK!’ before hastily being seen to and told off by the leader of the procession.
The moon could see the horrible truth below her now, yet from her lofty place in the sky was powerless to stop it. It was an army of rats. The rats had invaded the Kingdom of Cats. Under the cover of darkness, safe in the knowledge that every kitten, tom and queen would be sleeping soundly, they had made their cowardly advance, confident that no-one would be able to stop them.

I'll be launching Greta and Boris: a daring rescue at Bristol Foyles on April 20th at 1pm
You can buy the book at Foyles, Amazon, Waterstones, Guardian Bookshop and many other great places. 

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