Looking for a summer read? Vango by French author Timothee de Fombelle (Walker Books) ticks all the boxes for a book to take on holiday. It has a very intriguing mystery at the heart of the story, lots of action and suspense, travel to far-flung places, a Zeppelin, characters who can scale the Eiffel Tower with ease, plenty of secrets, humour and romance; all based around a series of historical events. It is also a substantial size for a children’s book at 432 pages long which gives you the opportunity to really immerse yourself in the story.
The story begins in Paris in 1934 outside the catherdral of Notre Dame where 40 men in white are lying facedown as part of a ceremony to become priests. Suddenly, one of the men stands up and takes off, hotly pursued by the police. To evade capture he begins to climb the towering cathedral. Extremely quick and nimble, he is almost running up the outside of the building towards a waiting Zeppelin hovering near the top when shots ring out. It’s not the police shooting though, so who wants this man dead and why?
Despite the historical setting, the story has a very modern feel and is so fast paced and full of unravelling secrets that you will be completely engrossed. Aimed at ages 12+, I think the book would be an excellent recommendation for those children moving on from Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series or for those who have enjoyed Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. It is also a particularly good title to recommend to boys.
And the best bit? This is only book one…..