Jack Fortune and the Search for the Hidden Valley

The continuing adventures of Jack Fortune

If you read the book, you’ll find that Jack Fortune has some very exciting adventures hunting for plants among the jungles, precipices and icy peaks of the Himalayas. (See below for the story and some reviews.)

But he’s also had some adventures since publication…

  • I’m just back from talking about him at the Edinburgh Book Festival – here he is on display in the Festival bookshop.

  • Jack Fortune was shortlisted for the Young Quills Award for historical fiction. As part of the process for this, lots of schoolchildren read and reviewed the nominated books – read more here.
  • Here he is in my local Waterstones, alongside some very impressive companions.IMG_0268
  • And he was chosen as one of the books for the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge, run by the Reading Agency – there he is, on the fourth row down!IMG_0747This was particularly good news, because I’m a big fan of the Reading Challenge. This was me last year, encouraging children at our local primary school to take part. IMG_2392The idea is to encourage children to read books over the long summer holiday. There are bookmarks, medals, puzzles, certificates – all kinds of goodies! You just have to go to your local library to sign up. Each year, there’s a theme. In 2018, it was Mischief Makers. And Jack Fortune is certainly very good at making mischief!
Here I am at Yeovil Library, talking about Jack.

The Story

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!

(NB You can find a fun activity pack here, and there are some Teachers’ Notes here.)


There have 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: 

  Nov 7

‘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.