Well that didn’t take me that long to read! I received Susan Hill’s The Battle for Gullywith yesterday and I couldn’t put it down, I’ve been reading so much Boy Lacer has taken to mimicking me by sitting next to me on the sofa where I’ve been sitting with the book, my other on-going read (Stephen King’s On Writing) in his hands with his head buried in it (upside down of course). In fact he seems to have walked off with Stephen King somewhere, so if I can’t find it again I won’t learn much more beyond what is a passive sentence is (and now I finally understand those Word readability statistics!).
Anyway back to Gullywith; The Battle for Gullywith is Susan Hill’s first children book for some time, it tells the story of 10 year old Olly’s move from London to the countryside, to the run down house of Gullywith. However, with the help of an awful lot of menacing stones (Susan Hill does for stones what she did for ‘innocent’ Venetian paintings in The Man in the Picture) and a battle hungry stone king in a submerged castle, things do not go to plan. But with some friends and a lot of heroic tortoises on Olly’s side . . . well you’ll just have to read it to see what happens.
I’m going to feel like an Amazon junk mailing here but I’m going to say it anyway ‘If you liked Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence (and I’m talking about the books, not the awful film) you’ll love The Battle for Gullywith’, there’s a similar mythological, children used as agents for ‘good’ feel to it, plus set in the sumptuous English countryside with it’s lakes, hills and forests playing key, dramatic roles in the storyline. I suspect there will also be some comparisons to Harry Potter (if anything because it’s published by the same publisher) but yes, if you liked Harry Potter I suspect you’ll like Battle for Gullywith as well, there’s a similar vein of magic going on beneath everyday normal reality (although no witches or wizards). It wouldn’t surprise me if they made a film out of it either (although please not made by the makers of the aforementioned ‘awful film’).
So, my copy will be off to my daughter’s school on Monday (the condition of me ‘winning it’), I think this book is going to be devoured by a lot of very happy kids and as for me, I really hope there’s a sequel.