THE SAVAGE KINGDOM by Simon David Eden

Moontrug has been doing a lot of book research on wildcats recently – because her main character tends to hang around with one most of the time. He’s called Gryff and he’s very wild (apparently wildcats are the only animals that can’t be tamed), he makes a grumbly Brrrooooo sound when he’s saying hello and he can reach 30mph when running). In short, he’s EPIC. And so Moontrug was delighted to see that author Simon David Eden had written a book called The Savage Kingdom, an unforgettable tale about courage, hope, loyalty and the unbreakable bond between a girl and her cat…

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When Drue’s beloved cat, Will-C, goes missing, she’s unaware that his disappearance is the start of the greatest global conflict the world has ever known. The animal kingdom has declared war on mankind, and now domesticated creatures must choose who to fight for: Man or Beast. Cast into a world of danger, but determined to rescue Will-C and bring him home, Drue embarks on a quest and makes an astonishing discovery: a mysterious ancient tribe called the Nsray, who have lived in the shadows since the dawn of time, are about to shape the future – but can they save mankind? And what role is Drue herself destined to play?

Mosey  Bea  author copyThe real cats that inspired Eden’s story

The reader is thrown into the story head first with a fabulously dramatic prologue: ‘But, as the rodents closed ranks and began to advance, and the mink rose up on its hind legs, hissed and bared its needle-sharp teeth, Drue realised, to her horror, that what was happening was all too real.’ The sense of threat is all too real as the animals gather together to destroy the human race and Will-C’s bravery standing up to the brilliantly named but utterly horrid Natterjack is fantastic. He’s an awesome cat (I think he and Gryff would be friends) and his owner, Drue, is a gloriously feisty female lead. She’s stubborn, curious and unimaginably brave. And Moontrug is loving the fact that so many great authors are now rolling out strong female protagonists: Meggie Folchart from Inkheart, Oona Kavanagh from The Black North, India Bentley from Ironheart…

White tailed eagle

Not only does Eden present us with a plot that matters (Moontrug nearly jumped up and fist-pumped the air when the giant white-tailed eagle rescued Drue), he gives us a few pearls of wisdom along the way. Whether it’s Liliuk talking to Drue: ‘Sometimes the things we’re forced to endure are the things that truly make us who we are’ or Will-C’s father speaking to Will-C: ‘Worry gives a small thing a big shadow’, Eden offers up some thought-provoking and wise ideas. Similarly, Eden’s outlook on the natural world is a delight to read and the inter-connectedness of man with nature is powerfully done: ‘It was Will-C who had first shown him how the trees’ powerful living energy fields snaked from one to another like writing, invisible serpents, and how, with practice, it was possible to tap into them to calm the nerves or clear the mind.’ On the outset the book sounds like MEGA fantasy but the way Eden writes and explains the Nsray shape-shifting is so realistically done; it’s just ‘seeing things in a different way.’ Moontrug loves that idea – it sort of brings magic much closer in, as if it’s just beyond our fingertips if we only look at things the right way. As Drue’s father says: ‘Belief is a powerful weapon.’ The Savage Kingdom is a fantastic read for 10+ years and Moontrug is already excited about the sequel…

 

 

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