Cloudburst by Wilbur Smith and Chris Wakling

Publication Date: 6 February 2020

The Blurb

When Jack Courtney’s parents are abducted by mercenaries whilst the family are on a research trip, nobody seems to have any answers. Jack is pretty sure that it’s got something to do with the nearby tantalum mines, but he needs to prove it. Along with Amelia and Xander, Jack must brave the jungle to save his parents. But standing in his way is a member of his own family – Caleb Courtney.

There are western gorillas, forest elephants and hippos. But there are also bandits, mercenaries and hostile tribes. The three friends will need their wits about them if they are to save, not only Jack’s parents, but their own lives too.

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The Review

I spent my teen years pilfering books from me Mam and Dad’s bookcase, and worked my way through most of their Wilbur Smith collection, so when I discovered he was writing a series for children revisiting his longest running family series through it’s youngest members, I was really excited, and Cloudburst did not disappoint.

Fast-paced, powerful storytelling that brings the characters, settings and real-life issues together seamlessly.

The Courtney cousins couldn’t be more different. Where Jack is humble and considerate, Caleb is bolshy and commanding. Cleverly written, as unlikable as Caleb is, I found myself empathising with him as his story unfolded.

Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, readers are immersed into a country in the heart of the African continent. From the plush hotel in the bustling city to the captivating beauty and brutality of the jungle, and the mines it hides, Cloudburst is certain to inspire curiosity about its setting.

Themes of poaching, poverty and child labour form parts of the plot, along with civil war and corruption of power. Due to the content, this is firmly on my Year 6 shelf.

Great for fans of:

Huge thanks to Piccadilly for gifting me a copy.

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