Safari, Smuggling, Secrets and Steam Trains.
This is Hal’s third Adventure in Trains with his Uncle Nat, and we’re off to South Africa during February half term for a safari and a trip to Victoria Falls.
But just as the train is about to leave Pretoria, Hal sees something that doesn’t look right, so out comes his sketchbook, his constant companion and he makes a quick drawing. He also meets Winston, the son of the safari guide, and his constant companion, Chipo, a little yellow mongoose with a fondness for peanuts. They are also coming on the train as there aren’t many passengers on this trip.
As the train starts it’s long journey we are introduced to a wonderful diverse cast of characters, from different parts of the world, all with their own personalities. There is an excellent conversation on the plight of endangered species as the train heads north for its first safari. But Hal still thinks something isn’t right, or is he just looking for something to investigate? When it does happen, is it just an accident? There are all sorts of twists and turns in the tale, which drives the story at speed along the tracks. Elisa Paganelli’s wonderfully descriptive drawings are a joy and it’s all in the detail. The train itself is described perfectly, you can just see the deluxe suites and the observation car and smell the upholstery mixed with the steam.
If you haven’t read the other two stories in the series, The Highland Falcon Thief & Kidnap on the California Comet, please rectify this now. This series is a great adventure hurtling down the train tracks.