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Anyone with a passion (or even a mild interest) for children’s literature, especially YA novels, should have a look at this exciting new writer, R J Barron.
His first YA novel, “The Watcher and The Friend” is due to be published on June 11th and is currently available now for pre-order.
The book tells the story of Thomas Trelawney, a thirteen-year old boy on a Christmas holiday in an old rectory on the North Yorkshire coast. It is the family’s first holiday since the death of Thomas’ older sister, Grace. On his first night there, Tom finds himself mysteriously lured through the Grandfather clock in his room, to the parallel land of Yngerlande, an eighteenth century version of a land nearly, but not quite, like England. He meets the Reverend Silas Cummerbund, the Watcher, whose responsibility it is to guard the passage between the two lands, and discovers that he is the new Friend, the person in England with the power to travel between the two worlds.
Yngerlande is a land of diversity and tolerance. There is a black queen on the throne, Queen Matilda, and women and races of all kinds are in positions of power and influence. Silas has discovered a plot by the grandson of the old mad King, Oliver, to violently depose Matilda and restore the old ways: racist, elitist, sexist. He needs Thomas to help him thwart the plot, because of the strange powers he possesses, including his ability to use the mysterious and powerful Sounding Stones. At the end of every night he returns to his bedroom in the rectory in England, before going back through the clock. He visits on five nights, ending on Christmas Eve.
Tom discovers as much about himself as he does about this strange new world, particularly when he meets the mysterious girl with stars in her hair. Who is she and what explains the powerful connection they have from the moment they meet?