Cloudburst: A Jack Courtney Adventure

Cloudburst: A Jack Courtney Adventure

Cloudburst: A Jack Courtney Adventure
Wilbur Smith

Piccadilly Press

ISBN 9781848128538

Brand new Wilbur Smith series for readers of 10+ - starring fourteen-year-old Jack Courtney. Jack Courtney has lived in the UK his whole life. But this summer his parents are travelling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a gorilla conference, and they've promised to take Jack and his friends with them. When his parents go missing in the rainforest, abducted by mercenaries, 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. 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 poachers. The three friends will need their wits about them if they are not only to save Jack's parents, but their own lives too.

Librarian's Book choice

Cloudburst, co-written by Chris Waking, is the start of Wilbur Smith's first series for children and what an epic adventure it is.

Join 14-year-old Jack, the youngest member of the Courtney family. Jack has lived in the UK his whole life but this summer accompanies his parents, who are travelling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for an environmental conference, joined by his friends Amelia and Xander.

That is only where the adventure begins for Jack. When his parents go missing, nobody seems to have any answers. Jack is certain it has something to do with the nearby tantalum mines but he needs proof. Jack needs to keep his wits about him as he embarks on this dangerous quest to save his parents - and his own life, too.

Cloudburst is filled with so many twists and turns it will keep the reader guessing at each stage. Fans of Enid Blyton and Willard Price will enjoy Cloudburst, which takes these classics, injecting them with a modern influence, reinvigorating the genre.

Themes of love, friendship and understanding are interwoven throughout the story. Many readers will resonate with the complex storyline of contrasting characters. The antagonist - Caleb, Jack's cousin - undergoes a rebirth following a dark twist no one will see coming.

Cloudburst lends itself well to geography lessons and environmental issues, predominantly global warning. Alongside links to unpicking and constructing adventure stories, it also has a PSHE undertone with the compassionate and level-headed protagonist Jack. Sidekick Amelia, with her innately photogenic and black and white view of the world, will resonate with many. Can the unique blend of personalities work together to save Jack's parents?

320 pages / Ages 9-13 years / Reviewed by Kelly Louise Buxton, teacher


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