Courtesy of @Netgalley, I have been lucky enough to get my mitts on the new release by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Yay! One look at this brilliant front cover by Steven Lenton and I was sold on Noah's Gold. But, I was little prepared for the stand-out adventure that awaited me inside...
When eleven year old Noah sneaks onto his sister's geography trip, he has no idea that the six of them are about to be left stranded on a strange and uninhabited island. With little food and no working phones (due to Noah breaking the internet), the gang must work out a way to get home.
But when Noah finds a treasure map that leads them to gold, it is clear that the adventure has only just begun...
I have wanted to read a Frank Cottrell Boyce novel for years but have to admit that I was not quite prepared for the random brilliance of this story. From deserted islands to internet cables to phone boxes to gold bullion to rabbits, I felt so discombobulated by the setting and events that I had no idea what was going to happen on the next page. This, of course, is exactly how I would feel if, like Noah, I was left stranded on an island where strange things are occurring and no explanations are on offer.
The story is simply hilarious. Told by Noah in letter form, it allows us to look at the world through the lens of an eleven year old child. Suddenly, I was back in school uniform, remembering how it felt to be on the edge of a tight-knit group and fantasising about being one of The Famous Five. There are certainly echoes of those stories here and I also felt memories of 'Lord of the Flies' rising to the surface and yet, what I loved most about this novel was how the children, despite their individual differences, remained tight to the end.
This has everything you could want in an adventure story. Minibuses rolling off cliffs, shark rides, thieves, low-flying planes and really high stakes. Mix in a daily menu, letters to mum and dad and bags and bags of humorous dialogue and you have a gold bullion of a story - gleaming and shiny. However, among the laughs and adventure there is some real heart and thought-provoking themes. I loved the how Eve's stand-offish behaviour with her brother unravelled into something really special and our modern world dependence on the internet was explored in the most original way I could ever imagine.
This is skilful writing and imagination at its best. It takes all the good ingredients of a traditional 'treasure island' story and twists it into something surprising and original. It's a perfect read for anyone who loves adventure and humour...and very inventive menus.
Noah's Gold is available to pre-order and is released on 13th May 2021. A huge thanks to Netgalley and Pan MacMillan for allowing me a review copy.