”I could feel it coming. War, I mean. Creeping up on us, into our town, down our street, into our house.
Ten-year-old Alan lives with his younger brother Sam and his Dad in Albion. His mother has been dead for 5 years and his list is his only memory of her, snippets of events and descriptions.
During a normal week at school one of the teachers leaves, but no-one says why, then Alan and his brother are taken in the middle of the night to a “Safe” place and left in the company of some women who used to be friends with their Mum. He has to leave his old phone behind & Dad gives him an emergency one with just his number on it, but that is taken from him and he can only contact his father when necessary. Alan loves code, it’s what his father does for work, so when he can use the phone he uses coded text to his father. There’s 2 dates circled on the calendar on the wall in this new house. One is Alan’s birthday and one is a week later, when the war will come. But who are the enemy and who is a friend?
This is an amazing story that I didn’t want to end. It works on many levels, for the children who want a good story, and for the adult it will mean something else. The map, I love a map in a book, is interesting as the area is recognisable, with old English names for places. This safe place is No Man’s Land, between two countries, the bit in the middle. It’s a story of code, friendship, family and loss, but most of all kindness.