'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 18 July 2019

Review: Lizard's Tale

The year is1940. The setting is the Raffles Hotel, Singapore. Lizard is very poor and lives in a cupboard space above a tailor’s shop in Chinatown. It is the home that Lili found for him. He survives with work from Boss Man Beng – running errands and the occasional stealing.

When Lizard is sent to Suite 70 in the Palm Court Wing to steal a teak box and deliver it at a specific time and place to Beng, he is surprised by Georgina, the daughter of the room’s occupants. Lizard manages to get away, but finds Beng dead when he reaches their rendezvous. This cements Georgina’s role in the story.

A chain of events makes the clever and street-wise Lizard question the value of a box that is worth a man’s life. But it isn’t the box, but what is in it that the story is built around. This makes Lizard trust no one as he could be the next to die.

A book of codes, a Japanese plan to invade Singapore, secretly trained child spies and people who are not what they seem, are the building blocks of this well-crafted and exciting tale of intrigue and espionage in time of war.

The story is character and plot driven. The main characters are courageous children; fearless and daring. Georgina is a headstrong, manipulative daughter of a diplomat. Lily is a tailor’s daughter but is far more than she appears to be. Lizard has a history before the event, and his life plan comes full circle in an unexpected climax. The adult and minor characters are also outstanding despite the fact that some have minimal or walk on, walk off appearances.

I love these types of novels that are inspired by historical facts and real life people who are taken and used, as foundations for a thrilling fictional story. It’s a novel that will send interested readers straight to Google to uncover more information about the characters, situations, time and places that have been used.

A debut novel, Lizard’s Tale will be read in one sitting for there’s no way that it can be put down before the last page is read. I’m positive that we will hear more from this excellent writer, as her style is as unique as her voice.

Title: Lizard’s Tale
Author: Weng Wai Chan
Illustrator: Sara Allen
Publisher: Text Publishing, $16.99
Publication Date: July 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925603910
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction

Read the fascinating guest post by author, Weng Wai Chan and learn more about the city of Singapore in which this exciting story is set.