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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Review: A Very Unusual Pursuit (City of Orphans #1)

In a city of orphans, children go missing. When two more boys disappear, Alfred Bunce, the ‘bogler’, is called in. He’s a monster killer, whose apprentice is 10-year-old Birdie. She is ‘a heroine; brave, quick and valiant’, with a mesmerising voice. It is she who draws the monsters out, for children are what the bogles feed on. This unusual pursuit is old Alfred and Birdie’s resource for survival.

Miss Eamers comes into their life. She is an educated, intelligent, courageous and astute woman, who will play a significant role in their future. She’s researching the spirit world, and wants to accompany them on a bogle hunt to gain first-hand information for a paper she is writing. The presence of Miss Eamers and her aunt will be both a blessing and a threat to their comfortable life.

It’s when more children go missing, this time from Sally Pickles’ gang of pick-pockets, that there is a shift in the story. Betrayal and blackmail mean nothing to Pickles as long as money changes hands. But this time money demands are linked to the dark and evil Dr Morton who is Head of a lunatic asylum and dabbles in the infernal arts.

Alfred and Birdie’s world turns and twists. Shifts and changes occur while an offer is made by Miss Eamers concerning Birdie’s future. A greater danger now threatens the two boglers as Dr Morton holds Birdie captive and blackmails Alfred.

A Very Unusual Pursuit is the first book of the City of Orphans series, an outstanding series set in nineteenth century England. It is a well-researched and perfectly plotted novel with vivid descriptions, powerful dialogue and fantastic characters both good and bad.

More impressive than the unusual story is the remarkable attention to detail. This entices the reader into the space the characters of the novel inhabit. Catherine Jinks’ ability to create a believable reality from fiction is priceless.  A Very Peculiar Plague, the second book in the series, is underway.

Title:  A Very Unusual Pursuit (City of Orphans #1)
Author: Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date:  January 2013
Format:  Paperback
ISBN: 9781743313060
For ages: 12+ years
Type: Middle Fiction

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