Review Blog

May 25 2009

Solitaire by Bernard Ashley

cover image

Usbourne, London.2008
ISBN 9780746081372.
(Ages 12+) This adventure recalls the television drama Lost and Gary Paulsen's Hatchet. It has just the right ingredients for an exciting read. Members of the Lewis family, working as volunteers in a war-torn African country, are caught up in a terrorist attack on board a cruise ship.
Later a young boy is washed up on the shore of a nearby island which is used by the French military for meteorological and strategic observation. It appears that the entire Lewis family has been lost at sea except for Joseph. Following a sighting of the boy on the island, Joseph's grandfather, an influential and very wealthy businessman, sets out to recover his grandson. There is much to enthral the reader as the chase begins to find a boy scarred by gunfire and grief, newly attached to this island paradise which offers refuge and peace. An action packed storyline, involving modern day terrorism amidst exotic settings make this book very readable. Interesting characters with a number of twists in identity and motivation keep the story moving. Though rather contrived at times, the overall air of mystery which stays with us until the final pages, makes this book a very satisfying read.
Bernard Ashley has been previously shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize - he has skilfully added to the increasingly popular genre of adventure/thriller for young readers.
Julie Wells

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