Books

Each of the groups is arranged with the more recent books listed first

Animal Stories Tiger,  Cadoc,  Wolf,  Elephant Ben,  Crocodile RiverKimba,  Torn Ear,  Brunner

Other Fiction Dead Boy’s Club,  Pirates


tigertinybookbrownStories from the Wild 8: Tiger

Hodder Children’s Books (2006)
ISBN 978-0340893586
E-book 978-1-444-90942-5

Kuma is teaching her cubs how to survive in the pitiless forests of Central India, where wild dogs, pythons and jealous male tigers are a deadly threat.

But when a tiger’s bones and body parts are worth their weight in gold, they face the most cunning enemy of all – humans.

When poachers strike, the roar of a tiger in pain is unbearable for Anji and Himal and their father, Inspector Singh of the KanlaTigerPark. Together with the Park’s trained elephants and riders, it is time to bait their own trap…

Thrills the same way as Jack O’London’s ‘White Fang’ does.

Amanda Craig, The Times

I was listening to the BBC World Service one night and heard a story that made me feel sick. Poachers had broken into a tiger’s cage in an Indian zoo and had skinned and gutted the animal, for its body parts.

People poach tigers to make money. There are close to 800 million people in India who live on less than £1-50 a day. For some of them, trapping or killing tigers is a way out of poverty. They might be paid anything up to £15 for a carcass by the professional smugglers who deal in this trade. For these dealers, a dead tiger will be worth £30,000 or more, once it reaches its destination in China.

Tiger parts are an essential ingredient in Traditional Medicine. Tiger claws, teeth, bones, whiskers, blood and even dung, are all used as a cure for illness as varied as toothache, epilepsy or malaria. And there is a growing world wide market for these products which was estimated to be worth £3 Billion in 2010.

This book describes a tiger cub growing up and learning how to hunt and how to survive into adulthood. I became very emotionally involved in writing it and cried buckets over the ending. I think young people should know that the slaughter of a species as magnificent as a tiger is both a disgrace and a tragedy.

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cadoctinybookbrownStories from the Wild 7: Cadoc

Hodder Children’s Books (2004)
ISBN 978-0340850664
E-book 978-1-444-90941-8

There was something terrible happening in there. Something unmistakably evil. As the twins shrank back, men’s voices swelled, urging on the dogs until the noise of snarling, barking and whimpering animals became a continuous assault of pain…

Marla and Cadoc are peacefully bringing up their cubs on land farmed by Tom and Sarah Jeferson’s family. But badger baiters are in the area. Cruel and ruthless, they hunt badgers to use in a deadly sport.

As danger escalates, the Jefersons are drawn into a frantic struggle to save the badgers – from a fate far worse than death…

 Well written and stomach churning 

Daily Echo, Bournemouth

There are a great many badgers in the woods surrounding my brother’s old house in Herefordshire. I used to go out at dusk and watch them cautiously emerging from their setts and getting ready to go out and find food. While many farmers loathe badgers and discreetly kill them whenever they can, I am not a farmer and find them fascinating animals.

I had of course, heard of badger-baiting when growing up but it was not until I went to New Scotland Yard to meet the Police Wildlife Crime Support Unit, that I realised just how fast-growing and lucrative a menace, this vile ‘sport’ is becoming.

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wolftinybookbrownStories from the Wild 6: Wolf

Hodder Children’s Books (2002)
ISBN 978-0340850657
E-book 978-1-444-90939-5

Marak is the leader of a pack of timber wolves, fighting for survival in the worst winter in memory, moving south in a desperate search for food.

 Ed and Jessica Viccary are newly-arrived in Elliot Lake, Wyoming. Their parents are vets serving the local ranchers. But when the wolves and the ranchers collide, bloodshed is inevitable.

 The Viccary’s love of wildlife draws them into this ferocious struggle with devastating results.

Captures perfectly the arbitrary, necessary cruelty of a predator and the deliberate, pointless cruelty of human hunters.

 Armadillo

I once stood with a dozen other people at night, somewhere in Alberta, Canada, and listened to wolves howling. It was the most eerie sound I have ever heard. It literally made the hair on the back of my neck bristle. Even now, I can feel a shiver running up my spine, at the memory.

Later that year, I took a holiday in Montana and Wyoming, where cattle is king. I talked to many people there about wolves and, as you can imagine, quickly discovered that they were not popular! Wolves have always had a bad name – both in America and Europe – and I think our fear of them is primeval and instinctive.

So I thought I should study them in greater depth and the result is this book.

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EliBentinybookbrownStories from the Wild 5: Elephant Ben

Hodder Children’s Books (2002)
ISBN 978-0340860595
978-1-444-90939-5

Ben is travelling in the African Plains with his game-ranger father. It’s a chance he’s longed for, to really see the animals in the wild.

This territory is roamed by the great elephant Temba and her family in their daily hunt for food, their battles against ravenous lions and crocodiles who prey on young elephant calves.

 But unknown to Ben, other humans are near. And their interest in the elephants is very different. For Temba and her family – and for Ben – a terrifying battle for survival awaits… 

An exciting and immensely enjoyable adventure story…a great read for any young wildlife enthusiast.

The Northern Echo

Elephants are wonderful animals. They are not only immensely strong but highly intelligent as well. They form close family groups which can vary considerably in size. These families are led by the senior female. Male elephants live totally separate lives and only join the family to mate.

The matriarch’s chief responsibilities are finding food and water for the family. A single adult elephant can consume over fifty kilos of vegetation in a day. And when young calves arrive, she has her work cut out keeping them safe from predators such as lions, wild dogs or even hyenas. Lions pose the greatest threat. They will lay traps and ambushes for the family or roll in giraffe droppings to hide their scent. The matriarch must be on her guard night and day.

In this story, we follow an elephant family across the high plains of East Africa and see daily life through an elephant’s eyes. We also meet Ben, the son of a game warden, who has a close shave with a really nasty snake, and a gang of well organised ivory poachers.

Before I forget, a nephew of mine, Nicholas Beattie, spent a whole summer at an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka. His job was to wash and scrub down up to twenty baby elephants a day. Now that’s work I would love!

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crocRivertinybookbrownStories from the Wild 4: Crocodile River

Hodder Children’s Books (2000)
ISBN 978-0340773260
978-1-444-90938-8

He fought down a surge of panic. A nightmare head reared up out of the river and headed towards them…

Tom is visiting his uncle’s cattle ranch in the Australian outback. And when old Sam offers to take the boys walkabout, Tom knows it will be the highlight of the holiday.

But the wilderness is a harsh and unforgiving place, concealing dangers that even Sam cannot foresee. Suddenly, their lives are in jeopardy – and the threat is not just on land… 

Compelling reading

 The School Librarian

In a premier league of predators, the Salt Water Crocodile is right up there at the very top. It rivals the great white shark for ferocity but it has the edge, because of its cunning and patience. Crocodiles watch and wait and where necessary, look for a pattern in the drinking habits of their prey.

So if you’re in the Northern Australian outback, and you’ve come down for the fourth day running, to the same place on the river bank, to fill your kettle for an early morning brew, Watch Out! Or this might happen…

Then (the crocodile) swung his tail in a powerful heave, dug down with his back legs and with jaws gaping, came up out of the river in one terrible fluid movement.

 I spent seven months in Australia, working with the Canadian sailing team in the 1986 America’s Cup that was being held in Fremantle, WA. When it was over, I drove a good thousand miles north and headed up past the town of Darwin to the rivers and swamps where ‘Salties’ could be found.

This book is based on what I saw and learnt. The end of the book is based on a true and horrific event that actually happened, just before I arrived there.

 Salt water crocodiles can grow up to six metres long and weigh well over a ton. No athlete alive can outrun them over short distances across sand. And by then, it would be too late anyway. They can also swim long distances out to sea. The best thing to do with them is to keep as far away as possible.

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KimbatinybookbrownStories from the Wild 3: Kimba

Hodder Children’s Books (1998)
ISBN 978-0340715857
E-book 978-1-4449 0937-1

Kimba was born among the boulders of M’Goma Hill, in the scorching heat of the afternoon.

Nurtured by his mother, fierce, gentle Sabba, he learns the ways of the plains; the never ending hunt for food, the dangers from leopards, snakes, crocodiles – and rival lions.

So when strange lions challenge his father, Black Mane for leadership of the pride, Kimba is running for his life…

Now he must hunt alone. Some how he must grow fiercer, more powerful, more formidable…Ready to challenge for leadership of his old pride. Ready to face lion’s greatest enemy…Man. 

Geoffrey Malone continues to be one of the great specialists of the animal novel

Le Figaro – Paris

This is the story of a lion cub growing up on the great African plains and learning how to hunt, fight and survive. It’s Africa again, with all the accompanying animals you’d expect to find there. Kimba is taught how to stalk. He learns how to ambush a herd of zebra and how hard it is to pull one down. And then a new male takes over the pride and Kimba is driven out to become just another, solitary outcast. Until it is his time to challenge for the leadership.

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Torn EartinybookbrownStories from the Wild 2: Torn Ear

Hodder Children’s Books (1997)
ISBN 978-0-340-86057-1
E-book: 978-1-444-90936-4
Large Type 978-1405661430

The wind carried the scent of blood far into the night, while the vixen pawed at the broken little bodies on the pile of earth. 

But Torn Ear survives the gamekeeper’s attack. Lowly his mother introduces him to the fox’s world – the skills of hunting and how to avoid danger.

Then he is on his own. 

Until he meets Velvet, and they have their own cubs. But Man intervenes again, and his favourite cub is threatened. Torn Ear must rescue her, but how will he escape the clutches of the gamekeeper this time? 

TORN EAR won a lot of prizes which I won’t bore you with. Suffice it to say that French schoolchildren voted it their Children’s Book of the Year. And that felt wonderful.

Geoffrrey Malone

Foxes are amazing animals. They are also many things to many different people. To those who keep chickens or ducks, they are a menace. To many town dwellers, they have become a scavenging nuisance. But whatever your view of them, there’s no denying that they are very intelligent, alert and adaptable.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Foxes love the taste of hedgehog but hedgehogs are protected by a thick coat of sharp spines. One fox, I’ve heard of, has solved that problem. The answer? Very clever. Just push the hedgehog into a puddle of water. The hedgehog will panic and unroll to see what’s happening. Quick as a flash, the fox will seize it by its soft underbelly and eat it. Poor hedgehog!

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BrunnertinybookbrownStories from the Wild 1: Brunner

Hodder Children’s Books (1998)
ISBN 978-0340726600
E-book: 978-1-444-90935-7

Brunner’s family is killed by hunters. He flees across the snowy wilderness to find a new home with the beavers of LakeNapachokee…

But nowhere is safe from Humans. Greedy developers begin bulldozing and dynamiting the lakeshore to build a holiday resort. For Brunner it’s a desperate struggle to save them all from destruction.

This was the first book I ever wrote. As I’ve explained elsewhere, I used to watch a colony of beavers hard at work, during my time in Canada. Later, when I knew more about them, I could only marvel at their ingenuity and determination.

Beavers are amazing builders. They cut branches to order, drive them deep into the river bed, plait them together to form a long wicker work basket, fill any gaps with rocks or mud and end up with a structure so strong, that the only way for humans to demolish it, is to use dynamite.

I was also saying goodbye to a number of people I had known in Canada. Hence the large number of humans in this story. Most of them were great. The other sort, I cast as the bad guys in the story.

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db450wtinybookbrownDead Boys’ Club

Hachette (2013)
ISBN 978-0340999608
E-book: 978-1-444-91332-3

 ‘If they ever come here,’ his father had warned, ‘drop everything. Just run and hide!’ And now they were here. God’s Freedom Army or whatever their name was. Bringers of blood and suffering. Rebels! Killers! Every one of them.

Hundreds of thousands of children are abducted from their homes and used as boy soldiers. This is the story of one them. 12-year-old Sam is ripped from his village in Uganda and forced to march with rebel soldiers to their training camp. A weapon is thrust into his innocent young hands and his life becomes that of enemies and battles, violence and death, as he’s turned into a soldier. With no escape, danger is around every corner, the threat of death is everywhere. But there are ways to survive. Sam becomes friends with a fellow boy soldier and together their dreams of escape become a strength. Together, they are ready to fight.

Read First Chapter

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piratestinybookbrownPirates

Hachette (2008)
ISBN 978-0340893593
E-book: 978-1-444-90934-0

Tom Lee’s burning ambition is to go to sea, like his father. So when Captain Lee invites Tom to travel on his ship, the Serota Star from Singapore to Penang, Tom jumps at the chance. 

But these are dangerous waters where pirates in modern gun boats prey on merchant ships. And when a Triad gang discovers the value of the Serota Star’s cargo, the order goes out to seize the ship at all costs. 

Tom is thrust headlong into a terrifying world where the pirate leader, the sinister Dragon Lady, has the power of life and death over him. 

Only Tom’s knowledge of the sea can save him. He’ll need every ounce of courage – and unexpected allies

I have always been intrigued by pirates. I got the idea for this story, when I came across a chart of the Malacca Straits, while clearing out my attic a couple of years ago. It was a souvenir of the time I had spent with the Royal Navy, in Singapore.

I had no idea before then, that twenty-first century pirates were alive and flourishing in one of the most important seaways of the world. Almost all Japan or China bound ships pass through this narrow channel.

 Although the book’s hero, Tom, is a resourceful and likeable boy, my own favourite character is the ruthless pirate captain, Lin Pao. He’s a fascinating man and I would love to write more about him, one of these days.     

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