Friday, August 8, 2008
ELEPHANT RUN by Roland Smith
ELEPHANT RUN is filled with Roland Smith's usual action and adventure. It is set in Burma near the end of World War II. Nick Freestone lives in England with his mother and step-father. During a bombing their apartment is destroyed, and Nick's mother fearful of his safety, decides to send Nick to live with his father on a teakwood plantation in Burma. That's when the adventure truly begins.
Nick was born on the Burma plantation, but left when his mother and father separated. It's been more than 10 years since he has been in his old home. Anxious to return and see his father, he is also excited to see the elephants. They are trained and handled by the Burmese men to move the timber on the plantation.
Once Nick arrives, he only gets to spend a few days with his father. He barely gets to meet the local residents of the nearby elephant village before the Japanese capture the plantation and take his father and many of the village men as prisoners.
What follows is Nick's struggle to survive in the jungle and then back on the plantation as a slave for the Japanese. He works in the garden by day and is locked up in his old nursery by night. With the help of an old elephant handler (a mahout), he learns about the secret passages in the main house and works to plan his escape.
Roland Smith is the author of wonderful adventure books for ages 12 and up. Among them are THUNDER CAVE, JAGUAR, THE LAST LOBO, and SASQUATCH. His characters are definitely not couch potatoes; instead they take readers on action-packed journeys around the world.