The main character in the story is Merry Owen and she has followed in a long family tradition of being a skilled archer. She lives on a farm in the Brecon Beacons in South Wales with her parents and brother. Their land is adjacent to the much larger de Courey estate , who has for generations thought the land owned by the Owen’s is theirs. They are always looking for ways to grab it back. When Merry’s family hit on hard times and the farm her family have lived on for generations is under threat she is desperate to help. So when a unique discovery of an old book in the roots of an ancient tree opens ups a path to another time 500 years in the past she takes up the challenge.
It is a gripping story and from very early on you are wanting to keep reading to find out what happens next. The short chapters really help. The dual time period is intriguing and the portrayal of the power of the de Courey family and Henry VIII when transported back in time 500 years ago are extremely well done. One of the things I love about this book is that it is one of several I have read that cross genres. Something that I think makes a story both exciting and intriguing but also opens up more possibilities for future reads. These combines, adventure with historical fiction, family saga, and something a little creepy. Merry is a strong but sometimes headstrong girl who stands up for her family. She embarks on extreme adventures of survival to get to another time. She has to use her Longbow skills, wit, mindfulness and pure courage to outwit her enemies and to save her family. There is a strong second character who is James de Courey. Linda Davies very effectively conveys the young people’s mixed emotions, the tension between their two world’s and how these two young people try to navigate their own paths, whilst respecting their families.
For me one of the things that makes this story special is the way the Lisa Davies captures the pure terror that Merry and James feel in some of the situations they find themselves in. Some of which are situations of extreme survival. I love the way the young people draw on their own resources to get them through. Alongside this is the ever present suggestion that there may be something more sinister at work. That is is someone always watching or following Merry. The multi layers of this story is not something which is easy to write, but Linda Davies has done it beautifully. Which was no doubt helped by her passion for the Brecon Beacons in which is was set. The publishers Chicken House recommend this book for 10+ years. I would highly recommend it for anyone aged 11/12 years and both boys and girls.
Available to buy from me at Readers that Care