Archives for category: Emma Carroll

Image result for secret of a sun king carroll faber and faber

Published by Faber & Faber


I enjoy history, but to be honest I have to think quite hard about dates, apart from this one. The year Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened by Howard Carter.

I would love to have been in Egypt then, to have been part of it, if only on the periphery. Though I suspect if I had been alive I’d probably have been in England, and possibly not even aware of this momentous find.

Related imageI always attribute my ability to read to Tutankhamun. I didn’t read until I was taken to the exhibition in 1972 – I was young and should have been reading by then. Everyone read to me, however, so I saw no reason as to why I should learn.

Then my mother took me to the British Museum…and I wanted to know what it was that shone in a perspex box, just above my head. The queue was long, and my mother told me she had no time to read everything to me…and we left…only for me to return to school to demand to learn – ‘My mother has stopped reading to me…’

Ancient Egypt has fascinated me ever since.

Tutankhamun’s history frustrates, fascinates and intrigues us. This pharaoh died as a young man. There have been questions about his ancestry, how he died and his life.  The treasure found within his tomb raised further questions, as did the tomb itself. Some of those questions have been answered and and a little of the mystery has dissipated – but by no means all of it. There are many mysteries and questions that still haven’t been answered, and some that have, haven’t been confirmed, with any certainty.

This story is set in that glorious year – it is filled with fantastic adventure, that curse, a canopic jar containing a further mystery…and an adventure in Egypt.  Mystery, Egyptology, murder, the untold story of a young boy…and a group of 20th century children…setting out into a strange and evocative land to solve a 20th century mystery entwined in an ancient story, never to be completely solved…

Without a doubt I am attracted to this book because of its subject matter. I am also entranced by the story, the adventure. Once more this is another brilliant story written by this consummate of authors.

This is to be the Book of the Month for Waterstones for August. Visit us at Finchley Road O2 and I will be very happy to sell you a copy, along with some other titles you might like.  Emma Carroll is due to visit the store to sign stock at the beginning of the month. So there will be signed stock, whilst it lasts, and I expect them to sell out fast!

Other titles by this author: Frost Hollow Hall / The Girl Who Walked on Air / In Darkling Wood / The Snow Sister / Strange Star / Letters from the Lighthouse

NB. I find it a little strange – I just might be in the picture above…though perhaps not. I was there though – I did go and it was the start of my love of all things Egyptology and the British Museum!



Published by Chicken House

I once had a balloon flight. I was a member of a group called S.P.I.C.E. (Special Programme of Initiative Challenge and Excitement, if I remember correctly), and had become rather ‘hooked’ on anything to do with flying: I skydived, flew a helicopter, a Mark 2 (I think) Provost Jet, experienced a basic aerobatics flight, followed by a second that was to competition standard, flew a glider, a tiger moth (including doing a loop the loop), and had a lesson in a small plane. I also had the flight in a balloon. It was remarkably peaceful and as though the world was turning beneath, rather than we flying above it – it was most peculiar.

This is about the race to construct and fly the first controlled balloon flight. Its about a young fingersmith (pick-pocket) who is employed to steal a box at the start of this intriguing and rather wonderful story. Which seems a simple enough proposal…initially.

Her adventures, though, are just beginning; as a result of a spur in the moment decision she becomes caught in the ropes dangling below a balloon and finds herself being carried above the trees and a barn…the river below a silver slither of brightness.

When she recovers, (which takes a while) she is offered a job working for the family from whom she was to steal the box…and its not long before her disappointed previous employer appears on the scene…

This is (remarkably) the story of the Montgolfier hot-air balloon -which was unveiled before King Louis XVI of France in 1793. I’m afraid I knew nothing of the two Montgolfier brothers, however, the Internet (the modern day encyclopedia), makes this reference:

On 19 September 1783, the Aérostat Réveillon was flown with the first living beings in a basket attached to the balloon: a sheep called Montauciel (“Climb-to-the-sky”), a duck and a rooster. The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology. The duck was expected to be unharmed by being lifted and was included as a control for effects created by the aircraft rather than the altitude. The rooster was included as a further control as it was a bird that did not fly at high altitudes. The demonstration was performed at the royal palace in Versailles before King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette and a crowd. The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered two miles (3 km), and obtained an altitude of about 1,500 feet (460 m). The craft landed safely after flying.

I don’t know what has happened, but 2018 looks to being a quality year for Children’s writing. This is superb – I have even had to put it down at intervals, because I have been too scared to read what happens next.

Out now. Buy it, read it, and pass it on.

NB – I note two authors. Neal Jackson won The Big Idea Competition in 2014 – and Emma Carroll was asked by Chicken House to write the story based on his idea. So you have two authors. Magic.

Published by Faber & Faber

This is Emma Carroll’s latest novel. It is set in the Second World War and encompasses the blitz, refugees, and evacuation – friendship, bravery and a little bit of luck – well more than a little. It will become a classic – there’s mystery and danger from the first page – it is a real page turner – a book that details the sense, and atmosphere of a very dark time in our history.

This is the first book of Emma Carroll’s that I have read – which is slightly embarrassing; five others are listed in the front, and her seventh book – The Lost Boy is being advertised in the back. Well written, edgy and engrossing. Superb.