30 March 2009

Waterslain Angels

by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Hachette Childrens Books. Junior, Young Adult. Hardcover rrp $28.99

Waterslain Angels is the story of two children in the 1950’s from the tiny village of Waterslain in Norfolk, England. Annie is 10, her father had a stroke a few years back and her life is bounded by the village. Sandy is 11, just arrived from America where his father was recently killed. His mother has returned to her home town. The two children have little in common except… Annie’s dad and Sandy’s mum have a big secret.

When the beautiful carved wing of an angel is discovered, the town is excited by the discovery. Annie and Sandy are determined to discover the rest of the angel and its 13 missing companions. All 14 angels were supposedly destroyed hundreds of years before in Cromwell’s time but the local tales are that they were safely hidden.

When the wing is discovered there are many whose thoughts think of the profit they would make with such a find, while others think that the angels should be returned to their rightful place, hanging in the local church on the 14 pegs attached to the ceiling.

Annie and Sandy find looking for angels isn’t as easy or safe as it should be – danger lurks in underground tunnels and they are attacked by a swarm of bees. Is there someone who doesn’t want the angels found? Would they harm two children?

Waterslain Angels has all the elements of a classic adventure. Any child that likes action with a lot of mystery and some serious puzzle solving will enjoy it. I can easily imagine a tiny English village church with missing items and lots of people trying to solve the riddle. I can’t help but wonder if it is based on truth?


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