Tamburlaine's Elephants by Geraldine McCaughrean

Tamburlaine's Elephants

Written by Geraldine McCaughrean

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Geraldine McCaughrean is a genius in her ability to draw the reader in to a part of history that might not immediately spring to mind as being of interest and yet she makes you hungry for more. Here, she draws upon a violent period of India’s history and inter plays that history with a wonderful friendship that develops despite horrific dangers. The characters are brilliantly drawn and the sights and smells of time and place are so well described you feel you are there, on the battlefield, on the plains and in the cities. It’s something entirely different from McCaughrean’s most recent novel, the sequel to Peter Pan but it is equally compelling.


Tamburlaine's Elephants by Geraldine McCaughrean

Rusti is a young Tartar, travelling and pillaging with the legendary Horde of Tamburlaine, Conqueror of the World. He dreams of honour and riches, and is proud to capture his first prisoners - an elephant and her keeper. Yet amidst the death and destruction, an unlikely friendship takes hold in this breathtaking tale. This is Geraldine's first novel after the world wide mega success of Peter Pan in Scarlet.


‘Her artistry with language is remarkable, her descriptions so immediate they occasionally leave one gasping’. The Guardian

‘One of the greatest living children’s authors’. The Bookseller

‘One of our most versatile and contemporary children’s writers’ Times Educational Supplement

‘She has the gift of making remote times and places unfold before the reader’s very eyes…what a novelist’ The Independent

About the Author

Geraldine McCaughrean

It’s over 30 years now since I first got published, and 50 since I discovered how writing carried me out of my little, everyday world, wherever I chose – way back in Time, to far distant shores, towards my own, home-made happy ending. I write adventure, first and foremost, because that’s what I enjoyed reading as a child. But since I have published over 160 titles now, there are books are every taste and age among them – gorgeously illustrated picture books, easy-readers, prize winners, teenage books and five adult novels (soon to be freshly released as ebooks).

Teen novel The White Darkness won the Printz Award in the USA, which, for this Englishwoman was an amazing, startling thrill. Other prizes have included the Whitbread Children’s Book Award (three times), the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Smarties Bronze Award (four times), the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award and the Blue Peter Special Book to Keep for Ever. Although I have only won the much coveted Carnegie Medal once, seven of my titles have been shortlisted for it, the latest being The Middle of Nowhere.

Then there is Peter Pan in Scarlet – official sequel to J M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy, written on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital. I won the chance to write that in a worldwide competition, and because Peter Pan is loved everywhere, my book sold worldwide too. It is soon to appear on stage and, just possibly, in the cinema.

I can’t say I expected any of this when, as a child, I dreamed of being like my older brother and ‘getting a book published one day’.

I was born and grew up in Enfield, North London. I trained as a teacher and then worked for ten years in TV and publishing. These days, I am lucky enough just to stay home and write. I have a husband (good at continuity and spelling) and a daughter who is an excellent editor. Having studied at Rada, she is now an actor so, naturally, I have turned my hand to writing plays. (So many actors, so few plays!) Some of my plays are for schools and young people, so you can find them in book form.

My Mum told me, “Never boil your cabbages twice, dear,” which was her way of saying, “Don’t repeat yourself.” So I have tried never to write the same book twice. You’ll find all my novels quite different from one another. I’m afraid that the only way you can find out which ones you like and which you don’t is to read them. Something for everyone, you see, my dear, young, not-so-young, eccentric, middle-of-the-road, poetical, sad, cheerful, timid or reckless reader. All they have in common is that they contain words. If you are allergic to words, you’d best not open the covers.

Geraldine lives in Berkshire with her husband.

Author photo © Brett Williams U.K.

Anne Fine on Geraldine McCaughrean:

'I reckon Geraldine McCaughrean knocks the socks off every other children's writer today. Everything she does is different and everything works – look at her list of prizes. She must write in tremendous bursts. Some years, she's so prolific the rest of us start joking that the fairies come in at night to do her work for her. Then she'll go quiet, so unlike all those writers who are persuaded by their publishers to come up with something every year, no matter how tired or drab. If Geraldine has nothing fresh to write, she doesn't write it.' (The Guardian)

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Geraldine McCaughrean
More books by Geraldine McCaughrean

Author's Website



Usborne Publishing Ltd

Publication date

28th September 2007




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