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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year:

Eagle Day by Robert Muchamore
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
ISBN: 978-0-340-9549-6
Callum Graham

Charles Henderson is returning to England with secret information after a successful mission in France. His companions are Paul and Rosie Clarke, a brother and sister eager to return to their native country, and Marc, a French orphan, who wishes to start a new life in the safety that lies across the channel.

Before they can successfully escape complications arise. The Nazis have a new plan to ensure victory for Germany. Henderson quickly realises that he and the children are Britain’s only hope against a new threat, Operation Eagle Day.
There is plenty of action in Robert Muchamore’s new novel Eagle Day. However I was surprised by the sensitivity with which he approached some of his subject matter. Although relationships where tackled in a typically boyish way, characterised by the young males ‘through the keyhole’ interest in the private liaisons of Henderson and his lover Maxine, when dealing with the brutal implications of war, Muchamore makes a commendable effort to show the Nazi’s not just as the enemy but as human beings. There is killing in the book, but not all of it is taken lightly. This was however well balanced by the mostly fast paced narrative. Fans of Muchamore will not be disappointed by stealthy undercover operations, skirmishes with the enemy and escape into hiding across the French countryside. The book does not maintain much historical accuracy. Instead it offers an alternative sequence of events after Dunkirk, which although a little fantastical do make an enjoyable read.

Although at first dubious, I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of the relationships formed through Henderson’s rag-tag band of children. The characters form a mostly functional family unit, something that Paul and Rosie have lost and that Marc has never had. Henderson remains emotionally removed from the group, only showing his fondness for the children through his actions not his speech, leaving the children to fill the more thoughtful or emotionally engaged roles in the plot. The integration of a new character, PT, into the gang is also compelling, allowing Muchamore to explore the notion of trust between strangers when put in a difficult situation. The differing characters, and the inclusion of Rosie and later Maxine amongst the boys leads to some tender moments, but also shows that girls are more than capable of handling themselves in a difficult situation.

Overall Eagle day is an engaging and enjoyable read. The diverse characters give the book a wider readership whilst keeping the plot interesting. Probably not for those who crave historical accuracy, but a good bit of escapism for teens who enjoy an action driven story. It is sentimental in places but with plenty of espionage and just enough guns and explosions.
© Callum Graham, September 2009

Night World: Volume 3 by L.J Smith
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Reviewed by Callum Graham

Through the novels Lisa J Smith creates an interlinked world of mystery and intrigue, dominated by vampires, witches and Shapeshifters. Most are bent on the destruction of the human world but a few, lead by the secret organisation Circle Daybreak, must try to save it.

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