Review Blog

Jun 03 2009

The escape by Robert Muchamore

cover image

Hodder Children's Books, 2009. ISBN 9780 340956489
(Ages 11+) Children escaping form the Nazis in war torn France will have readers wanting more, and this being the first in a series called Henderson's Boys, by the creator of the Cherub series, will be a winner for readers from upper primary to lower secondary. Muchamore introduces all the characters seen by older generations in films made in the 1940's and 1950's, revived again in the 1970's and now again appearing on our screens. The cold blooded Gestapo chief, pulling teeth from a 12 year old boy without compunction, the village priest who has seen it all and still risks his life sheltering refugees, the suave British (of course!) spy Charles Henderson, the helpful people along the way, all rolled into this highly readable and page turning story.
Alternate chapters tell the story of brother and sister, Rosie and Paul, escaping Paris before the German Army in 1940, with their father. He has important documents needed by the British. Marc on the other hand is an orphan, raised in a brutal environment, taking his chance when a plane crashes nearby to make his escape. Each group of children makes its way through appalling circumstances to survive despite the war around them. When Rosie rings Charles Henderson, she unwittingly talks to the Nazi operative, and Marc, inside the house hears most of the conversation, and is able to pass this on to Henderson, who develops a cunning plan. They all turn up together, after many deaths along the way, and the stage is set for sequels.
An exciting and thrilling story well told, will ensure that the series is as successful as the Cherub series before it.
Fran Knight

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