I seem to be experiencing a little flurry of books for the younger audience at the moment and I am loving it. Today sees my stop on the blog tour for The Curse of Ragman’s Hollow by Rhys A Jones. Many thanks to Rhys, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for enabling me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.
Just a walk in the countryside. What could possibly go wrong
Sam Jones’s grandmother is training him to be one of the Cunning Folk, like her, and exams are looming.
But Sam’s mother has holiday plans and drags him off to a remote cottage in the middle of nowhere for some country air. No mobile phone, nettle soup and long walks are the rule. One such walk takes them to Ragman’s Hollow, a place the locals avoid with good reason.
It’s a place where people and animals go missing, never to be found.
That’s just superstitious nonsense, according to Sam’s mother. But there is no smoke without fire and Sam soon finds himself up against an old, very spiteful, and very tricky enemy.
He’s going to need every ounce of his cunning to stop the Ragman. But can he do it alone?
Getting involve with the blog tour for this book was perfectly timed for me, because I now know what to get my friend’s little boy for his next birthday. This book is the third in the series, and although it works perfectly well as a standalone, I just know that the little boy I have in mind would love the whole series. It is a fast paced story with plenty of excitement, and a hint of humour thrown in to the situation that Sam finds himself in, and even with my limited knowledge of children it just feels like the kind of adventure story that little boys would love.
Sam’s holiday companions, the horrible Hollinghursts just sound like the stuff of nightmares – they are rude and obnoxious, and even as an adult I would balk at the strict no burgers, no phones, no computer games, must wear shorts holiday rules. They were exactly the sort of character that people love to hate.
Sam is an endearing character who I think a lot of children could relate to, or learn things from. He is conscious of how his actions affect other people, and of how much hurt careless name calling can cause. He sets such a good example to the target audience, but at the same time, he has enough spirit to come off as too good to be true.
There is one scene that I just have to mention because it really amused me. Fairly early on, Sam’s mum puts her shoes on the table to wind up Gran, and it reminded me so much of my own Nan. She would have gone absolutely nuts about shoes on the table. She wasn’t overly superstitious other than this (oh and green cars and number plates that added up to thirteen), and it really put a smile on my face to see that other people share her beliefs about it.
I love Arthurian legend and Welsh folklore, so my eyes lit up at the mention of Merlin, and the connection of Merlin to Sam’s own family history. I want to read the rest of the series now to see what other Merlin related stories come to light.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rhys A Jones was born in 1955 and grew up in a mining village in South Wales with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He managed to subdue his imagination long enough to carve out a career in medicine, writing whenever the chance arose.
The Merryweathers mysteries feature a boy and his more-than-meets-the-eye Granny Merryweather. The Curse of Wihtlea Barrows (previously the Dreables) and The Curse of Borage Doone have just been released as paperbacks with new covers and a new publisher (Wyrmwood). The third in the series entitled The Curse of Ragman’s Hollow is now available at last
Rhys is currently writing The Artefact Quintet featuring eleven-year-old Oz Chambers whose family inherits a ‘haunted’ house. His mother wants to leave, but Oz wants to unlock the house’s mysteries and uncovers a secret that will change his life forever.
Rhys also writes for adults as DC Farmer and Dylan Young
He has three grownup children who have emerged remarkably unscathed into adulthood. When not writing, he practices medicine and lives in darkest West Wales with his understanding (very) wife and dog.
Oh, and the Rhys is pronounced Reece–as in the actor Rhys Ifans of Mr Lovegood (Harry Potter) and The Lizard (The Amazing Spiderman) fame. Or perhaps it’s easier if you just think of Reece Witherspoon, though she is a lady.
FROM WIKI: Rhys /ˈriːs/ is
a Welsh given name (usually male), famous in Welsh history a surname of Welsh origin that means “Dragon“, “fervour”, “passion”, “ultimate strength”, “king” or “zeal”
It was also my dad’s name! The name is also anglicised as Rice, Rees, Reese and Reece
Win a signed copy of the Merryweathers Mysteries series (Open Internationally)
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Don’t forget to have a look at the other blogs taking part in the tour.