Spylark

Publisher: Chicken House Books

Review

Tom Hopkins has a keen talent for building robots and drones. He is still coming to terms with various aspects of his past, including an accident that has left him with a mobility impairment. However, living in the Lake District with his Great Aunt, his homemade drone "Skylark" provides a perfect way of exploring its numerous hills and wooded islands from the safety of his workshop.

Then, one day, Skylark brings him more than innocent entertainment when its camera observes some strange activity, and Tom finds himself drawn into a dangerous game involving an attempted assassination.

In Spylark, Rurlander has created a gripping adventure, with all the right ingredients. Local bullies, sinister villains, high-speed chases, terrorism plans, explosive weaponry, missing evidence and dramatic escapes.

It’s a timeless piece of storytelling, with a significant (and clearly deliberate) nod to Swallows and Amazons. Much of the setting, style and characterisation are delightfully old-fashioned, but cleverly entwined with contemporary themes and contexts to ensure a thoroughly modern appeal.

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