The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
The Elephant Thief
Publisher: Chicken House
Danny is a pickpocket who is sent to an auction to find the missing fortune of a recently deceased menagerie owner. Instead of finding the fortune, he ends up buying an elephant for a zoo owner, and is offered the opportunity to ride Maharajah the elephant from Edinburgh to Manchester.
He has to make the journey within a week, but they keep running into trouble. It soon becomes clear that someone is intent on preventing Danny and Maharajah from getting to Manchester in time.
This is a fast-paced story, based loosely on Maharajah's real-life journey from Edinburgh to Manchester, where the elephant's skeleton is now on display at the Manchester Museum. While the historical walk was rather uneventful, The Elephant Thief is non-stop action. What does hold true to history is the way the country was captivated by the elephant who made the journey, including Queen Victoria herself.