It’s the end of the 18th century. King George 111 is on the throne, and Jack Fortune, a lively orphan boy who wants to be an explorer, is living with his crotchety Aunt Constance. He’s always getting into trouble; but one day his naughtiness goes just that bit too far, and Aunt Constance decides she’s had enough. She calls in her brother, Jack’s Uncle Edmund, and tells him it’s his turn.
But Uncle Edmund declares that he can’t possibly take on Jack – he’s just about to head off on a dangerous expedition to the Himalayas in search of rare plants. To Jack’s great delight, Aunt Constance won’t take no for an answer – and Uncle Edmund is left with no choice!
What follows is a terrific adventure that will see Jack and Uncle Edmund testing themselves to the limits, as they sail to India, travel north to Hakkim, forge their way through jungles, cross turbulent rivers and scale terrifying heights – and also have to cope with sabotage, avalanches and a mysterious creature that lives among the snow and ice of Mount Zemu!
There have already been some lovely responses to Jack. This one is from Jacqueline Harris, writing on http://www.readingzone.com:
‘My ten-year-old son took this book to read before I had the chance and his verdict was, ‘absolutely brilliant’! I have to say I completely agree with him. This was so exciting and unusual in its theme that I was completely hooked from the first few pages.’
Read the whole review here.
And here’s a link to a lovely review from Penny Dolan on Awfully Big Reviews. She sums up: ‘I liked JACK FORTUNE AND THE SEARCH FOR THE HIDDEN VALLEY very much because, despite the difficulties Jack and his Uncle face, the adventure is a positive and hopeful experience and one that might encourage children to look beyond everyday life and issues in school and out into a wider world.’
Scroll down the page to find this review, in Armadillo Magazine, of Jack. It’s by Bridget Carrington, who says:
‘Sue Purkiss offers an exciting adventure story for KS2 readers which combines a boy’s search for his own identity and the resolution of deep psychological trauma, with the search for new and exotic plants.’
Meanwhile on Amazon, Miriam Halahmy says: ‘ With beautiful details, such as sherbet served in cups of jade, hair raising escapades on icy mountains and the threat of sabotage along their route, this is a story that savours the strange and exotic world of eighteenth century India. A real old fashioned adventure story that boys and girls ( and certainly this grownup) will all love.’ (See more Amazon reviews here)
And from Twitter, this:
‘Can not praise this book enough! I may be in my 50’s but I loved it, Exciting,full of adventure ,and Jack is just so much fun! Ideal Christmas book for all ages even those who are big kids at heart.’
And then there’s this, from Pen and Paper: ‘What is really nice about the story is how his character develops as he identifies skills he didn’t know he had, growing as he comes to know of the customs of people very different to himself, learning about their beliefs and customs…’ More here.