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

Thursday 21 September 2023

Review: Until the Road Ends

After years of eking out an existence on the streets, Beau is saved from death by Peggy Alford. The rescue is life-changing for both animal and human.

Mabel the cat, already a permanent resident in the Alford household, is owned by Peggy’s brother Wilf. When Beau joins the family, great discord surfaces between him and the vain, selfish, and territorial Mable.  

Enter Bomber the courier pigeon. Then there were three. It is the animals’ narrative that controls the story.

In Europe, Hitler’s war has broken out. Dogs and cats are being euthanised, food becomes scarce, and children, including Peggy and Wilf, are sent to the countryside for safety.

Mr Alford is not conscripted due to his asthma but is allocated the duty of air raid warden.


Refusing to put Beau down, the dog becomes his companion on search and rescue missions in their town.

Tragedy strikes.

Through the voices mainly of the three friends, we are shown that animals also exhibited great strength, courage, and dedication during war time. This story highlights these assets in the characters of Beau, Mabel and Bomber through their dialogue and actions.

Phil Earle has approached his theme in an entirely original way with his writing style, leaving all essential information to flow into the narrative, drop by drop. 

Fascinating sub-stories emerge as a dangerous and long journey to reunite with their beloved children, is undertaken by the animals.

An extraordinary read, it is inspired by real happenings. The third book covering events of WW2, Phil Earle’s brilliant Until the Road Ends follows his award-winning When the Sky Falls and When the Storm Rages. This trilogy brings to life that all that is lost during war time, is not only human lives, but the broader scope includes items of value, history and collected memories; all destroyed during the bombings.

Title: Until the Road Ends
Author: Phil Earle
Publisher: Walker Books, $18.99
Publication Date: 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781839133169
For ages: 9 – 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction