Reader Reviewed Big Game by Dan Smith

Big Game

Written by Dan Smith

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

As boys’ own adventures go, Big Game takes some beating! Thirteen year old Oskari sets out into the wilderness of his Finnish homeland as part of an ancient trial of manhood. He’s small, a bit clumsy and no-one expects him to do well, least of all himself. But events take an unexpected and highly dramatic turn: terrorists shoot down Air Force One over Oskari’s forest and it falls to him to save the US president. In a series of explosive adventure scenes, Oskari uses all his survival and hunting skills to prove himself, as the President says, ‘more of a man than anyone else I know’. This exhilarating action-packed story is ideal for anyone who’s ever felt they weren’t good enough, which probably accounts for everyone. Gripping, feel-good adventure. ~ Andrea Reece

A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher Could you survive in a wilderness? What if you had someone else to look after too? A really important person? Oh, and what if there were a load of bad guys after you both? I loved this story of all-action peril in Finland – and working with the brilliant story by Jalmari Helander and Petri Jokiranta, we asked Dan Smith to write a novel that bought the film and characters to life on the page. It’s a totally cracking thriller and you won’t be able to stop for breath . . . Watch out!

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review a sample pamphlet of this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Charlotte Rosevear, age 11 - 'an amazing book! I recomend this book to any one.'
  • Calum, age 11 - 'A great gripping book a definet recommend, well done Dan Smith.'
  • Rory Faulkner, age 9 - 'This book was amazing and I couldn't put it down, and I'm now going to search out more books by Dan Smith.'
  • Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 12 - 'The characters were brilliant and were portrayed well . The plot was excellent and kept you engaged. I would give this book five out of  five stars.'
  • Kurt Simpson, age 10 - 'Dan Smith is one of the best authors of the 21st century, and he has written a piece of magic! In my opinion he is one of the best writers ever. This book in three words; Danger, Action, Survival!'  '
  • Isaac, age 10 - 'A thrilling mix between tradition and the modern world, this gripping book will keep adventure addicts glued to the page. Giving parents a break.'
  • Sam Harper, age 11 - 'A really gripping, action packed story which takes place over a period of just 24 exhilarating hours. Fantastic!' '
  • Ollie Wright, age 8 - 'An adventurous book, for adventurous people!'
  • Abraham Fisher, age 12 - 'If you are looking for an adventure book, this is the book to get, ‘Big Game’ is an amazingly written book with an extremely fast pace.'
  • Lucie Harrison , age 12 - 'Big Game is a perfect choice for fans of Alex Rider and other Anthony Horowitz novels.'
  • Isabel Kardos-Stowe, age 10 - 'I really enjoyed this book because it was different to anything that I had read before. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through.'
  • Oliver Knight, age 10 - 'The book is a great action packed novel full of mystery and surprises...the  way the author tells you about what is happening is truly amazing.'
  • Hannah Baer, age 11 - 'I thought that the book was okay but it got a bit boring.'


Big Game by Dan Smith

13-year-old Oskari is sent into the cold wilderness on an ancient test of manhood. He must survive armed only with a bow and arrow. But instead, he stumbles upon an escape pod from a burning airliner: Air Force One. Terrorists have shot down the President of the United States. The boy hunter and the world's most powerful man are suddenly the hunted, in a race against a deadly enemy.

Find out more about the movie

About the Author

Dan Smith

Growing up, Dan led three lives. In one he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the padi-fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . which is where some people say he still lives most of the time!

Now settled in Newcastle with his wife and two children, Dan writes stories to share with both adults and children – and with an interest in World War 2, a great-aunt who was a flak-gunner, and a grandfather who was an army captain during the war, is it any wonder that his first book for children is set during those uncertain days of 1941?

A Q+A with Dan

You have books published for adults and children. Do you find it easier or harder to write for children? I don’t think I find it easier or harder. Of course there are differences in the way I write for adults and children, but those differences aren’t very big. I approach stories as stories whoever I write them for. My adult books often have children in them, and my children’s books often have adults in them, so I just change the focus of who tells the story – the adults or the children.

How did you get your big break? It’s difficult to say whether I’ve had a big break or not. I think I’ve had a series of small breaks – which makes me sound like I should be in hospital. My first break, though, was finding a great agent who loves my writing. I spent a lot of time sending letters and sample chapters to different agents until I found just the right one. She always gives me good but brutally honest advice about my books, which is sometimes hard to listen to, but helps me get better and better at telling stories.

Any advice for budding authors? Read, read, read. And then read some more! I really believe that the more a person reads, the better they will understand how stories and characters work. The other important thing is to write. It might sound obvious, but if you sit about, waiting for inspiration and dreaming about being an author, then you’ll never be an author. Writing makes you an author so … get writing!

Where is your favourite place to write? I sit on a small sofa in the corner of the sitting room. It’s not very glamorous but it’s comfortable and it’s the brightest, warmest room in the house. I put my laptop on a cushion and perch it on my knees and, you know what? It’s just about the best place in the world.

Have you ever wanted to do anything other than write? When I was very young I wanted to be a judge. I have no idea why. Then I wanted to be a vet until I saw Star Wars at the ripe old age of seven. After that I knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to be Han Solo. I was never any of those things, though, and by the time I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Nothing else would have been good enough. Apart from, perhaps, being Han Solo.

You can only read three books for the rest of your life, what would they be? Well, if you asked me this on another day I might give you a completely different answer but today I’m going to say Lord of The Flies by William Golding because it’s a brilliant story about children who find themselves in a terrifying situation without any adults to help them, The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway because it’s the classic tale of man versus nature, and The Go-Between by LP Hartley because it’s a summery, dreamy tale about a shy child who is thrown into an adult world that he struggles to understand.

Do you visit your local library? Really, I like to own books, because they’re such lovely objects to hold and look at, but, yes, I do visit my local library. I find the library especially helpful when I’m researching a book of my own and I’m looking for information about something in particular. Also, both of my children love to borrow books and they take part in the Summer Reading Challenge every year.

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Book Info


288 pages


Dan Smith
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Chicken House Ltd

Publication date

1st January 2015




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