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Dark Flood

"Gripping, memorable debut novel with a strong sense of place"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

July 2024 Debut of the Month | Interest age 10 Reading age 10+

The distinctive vernacular of the north-east enriches this time-slip story which links present day challenges and grief with a 19th century tragedy.

Archie lives with his mum and grandad in Heaton, almost directly above the scene of a mining disaster that took the lives of 75 men and boys two hundred years ago. His own life is affected by the area’s industrial history too. His grandad is fighting for breath after a lifetime working in the pit, his dad has disappeared looking for work elsewhere, and life for him and his friends is tough.

The stories combine one terrible night of torrential rain. Archie is beaten up by the local thugs and almost drowns in the mine entrance. While unconscious, he finds himself back in time, trapped in the mine, his prize possession, the fiddle passed down to him by his grandad, providing the miners with much-needed comfort even though they know they’ll never see daylight again. It’s music that saves Archie and provides the story with an ending that offers hope of new beginnings.

Dark Flood won its author the Hachette Children’s Novel Award and it’s an impressive debut, well-plotted, full of memorable characters and scenes and with a strong sense of place.

Andrea Reece

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