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Stevie is having an unhappy break with his father and his father's girlfriend. In a rage he storms off and eventually finds himself at dusk in a quiet courtyard where a strange old man is washing in an old well. Repulsed by the figure, Stevie nonetheless takes the broken bell the man leaves behind. but that night he wakes to find ghostly figures in his room. They too are disfigured like the old man and Stevie finds himself drawn into their medieval world. Outcasts, excluded from the town, they tell Stevie that the old man, their grandfather, is bent on risking everything to enter the town one last time. Stevie joins in following the old man to try to protect him from the pitiless mob of townsfolk. In a dramatic climax Stevie faces the fury of the crowd and in doing so begins to understand what it is to be an object of hate. This deeply felt story is a gripping read, powerfully told and illustrated by a leading author and illustrator. Sure to appeal to all readers of 11 - 14, its relatively short text broken into digestible chapters and high level of illustration make it accessible to less able and reluctant readers as well.
In a fast-moving plot, 14-year-old Will terrifyingly experiences a voice from the past when visiting the Norman remains of Totnes Castle in Devon. He comes to realise that a boy took revenge on the Normans for the murder of his father and was himself killed in 1067 when local Saxons were brutally enslaved to build the Castle. But the boy's spirit cannot rest until the knife he used is returned to the River Dart to complete Saxon tradition. Will breaks into the castle at night to dig up the knife, but then the nightmare begins as he relives his Saxon forebear's horrific ordeal. A gripping story with sympathetic characters. Part of a unique range of books aimed at 11+s that through integration of text and illustration are also accessible to those with reading abilities of as young as 8. Produced in consultation with literacy consultant Wendy Cooling,
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