City of Fate by Nicola Pierce

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I know we have already featured a guest review for this title but as we here at Inkies have been dying to get our hands on it we just had to do our own review. As the resident Historical Fiction ahem** “expert” (Lisa D) I thought I would be the best choice to read and review the eagerly awaited follow up to Nicola’s bestselling Spirit of The Titanic. (In other words I wrestled the book away from the other two).

With this book Nicola has chosen another iconic historical setting; the Battle of Stalingrad 1942-1943. The action revolves around two young boys; fourteen year old Yuri and Peter who is only five. They are thrown together after the bombing leaves the city in ruins and their homes destroyed. We also meet a group of school friends who have been recruited into the war effort Anton, Vlad and Leo who are teenagers barely older than Yuri. Nicola’s storytelling is incredibly powerful and she weaves her exhaustive research into the narrative seamlessly. When she tells us that the young recruits weren’t even given guns and that the Germans shot old women and children it is all too believable. This book is heartbreaking and yet it reminds us constantly of the humanity of both sides. The German soldier haunted by singing children, the old ladies who give food to anyone they meet who needs it and the haunting music which is a constant motif. This was a bleak historical episode but Nicola gives it faces and names and brings the history books to life. This is an ideal read for fans of The Book Thief and should be required reading for Junior Certificate Students. Like The Book Thief it will have broad appeal and I can see it being read avidly by readers from age ten to adults.

The Secret of the King by Martin King

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This is the first in a new series of adventure books by UK based author Martin King perfect for any budding Indiana Jones aged 9 or over. Twelve year old Jack Hunter has just moved to a new house and a new town and he’s not happy about it. He doesn’t relish the idea of hanging around his elderly grandfather much either, however when his grandad tells him about some buried treasure Jack realises that maybe the summer won’t be so boring after all. He soon makes new friends and together they discover ancient secrets and treasure in a rollicking good read full of thrills, spills, villains and adventure. This is a well paced and well plotted adventure story for young readers. It’s perfect for fans of Percy Jackson, Arthur Quinn or the Time Hunters series. The book is available from amazon and waterstones online and you can find out more about the author at http://martinkingauthor.com/

Guest Post from Bleach House Library

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nicola
city of fate
Imagine your home is bombed one Sunday afternoon by a horde of enemy planes. Imagine your family has gone and you are left behind. This is the fate of five-year-old Peter and teenagers Yuri and Tanya.
Imagine being ordered to leave school to fight the terrifying Nazis in World War II. Imagine you are right in the middle of a battle; it’s you or them – you have no choice. This is the fate of Vlad and his three classmates.
The battlefield is the city of Stalingrad, the pride of Russia. Germany’s Adolf Hitler wants the city badly,   but Josef Stalin refuses to let go.
Nobody has managed to stop the triumphant Nazi invasion across Europe. It all depends on one city – Stalingrad – her citizens, her soldiers – and her children.
Thanks to O’Brien Press for the review copy of this book……..
The battle of Stalingrad is the setting for this Children’s/ YA novel by Irish author, Nicola Pierce.  We have all read the familiar accounts of children’s experiences in WW2 but these stories tend to based around Germany and the Nazis.  This book looks at the effects of war on the children and families of Russia.  Peter is found wandering the streets, orphaned and afraid.  Yuri has lost his family also, and takes Peter under his wing.  They spend their time hiding from the Germans and searching for food.
We also learn of the fate of schoolboys forced to join the Russian Army despite their young age, and lack of understanding of the war and what it entails.
The author combines these two angles very well, in basic english, making it the ideal read for children from 10 years plus.  There are some harrowing tales within the book and the idea that they are based on fact makes it all the more shocking.  Reading City Of Fate should be a great benefit to any kids who are interested in World History and would be ideal as a read aloud book for teachers.
Like John Boyne’s The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief, this novel is not just for kids.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and was happy to read of WW2 from the Russian perspective ……
 
 
City of Fate is published by O’Brien Press and is available as a paperback or ebook
 

http://bleachhouselibrary.blogspot.ie/2014/03/city-of-fate-by-nicola-pierce.html