Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Philip Caveney - The Calling - Book Review

A boy wakes up on a train to Edinburgh. He is shocked to discover that no idea who he is or how he came to be on the train - and once off it, he finds himself immersed in the chaos of the Edinburgh Fringe. After a day of wandering the crowded streets, he falls asleep and is woken by the sound of bells tolling midnight - only to discover that is the night of The Calling - a magical yearly event when all the statues of the city come alive. He is the only human ever to witness it. He quickly makes a couple of allies - the Colonel, the bronze cavalryman of the Scots Grey's monument, and the intrepid explorer David Livingstone. They christen the boy 'Ed Fest' and take him to Parliament Square to meet Charles II, the king of the statues, who isn't particularly fond of 'Softies' (humans).He assigns Sherlock Holmes to investigate the boy's case, to discover his real identity and to get back to his home and family. But as the bronze detective begins to decipher the clues, he discovers that 'Ed' is on the run from a sequence of terrible events; ones that could threaten his very existence.The Calling is a magical story set during Edinburgh's most exciting event - and nearly all of its characters can be observed, standing on plinths in the heart of the city, waiting for next year's Calling.

The Calling is a magical story that you are all going to love. Yes, you really are dear readers. The story to me is a nostalgic look at one of the best cities in the UK. Can you guess where that might be? From the veery first pages that you turn, you are soon asking questions about the mysterious character. You can not help follow the character with wide eyes and a buzzing mind as he leaves Waverley train station into the chaotic streets of Edinburgh. The Fringe is in full swing and performers are strutting their stuff on the streets. A rocked-up Scottish folk tune leaks from the pages as Philip sets up the backdrop and atmosphere like a seasoned pro. 

When day time moves over to night time, Edinburgh comes alive with a secret past. The bells toll midnight and the streets secrets soon come to light. Ed discovers something amazing as the statues come to life for twenty-four hours (
known as the Calling) and he is the only human to witness the event. It's a great concept and Philip takes this idea and runs with it. He brings many famous dead characters to life; those who normally stand so silently and are sometimes forgotten when walking around the city.  

This is a brilliant adventure loaded with historical characters. It is a fantastic introduction to the city for young readers and a fantastic advert for Edinburgh, in my opinion.  He weaves a story within a story as Ed struggles to find out who and where he comes from. The statue of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle comes to his aid, in the form of Sherlock Holmes, with the help from James Clerk Maxwell 
(scientist). There is also an unlikely Scottish hero as well as a terrier called Bobby.

The narrative gets very interesting and the plot thickens as the detective works his elementary sleuthing magic in true style. It's a cracking epic adventure full of period detail. One minute you're munching on Starbuck's treats and the next minute you're travelling through a portal to a pub in Manchester. It's a fantastic eclectic hit of ideas and history with some great witty banter between the characters which will definitely make you chuckle. 

This is the fourth book set in the city of Edinburgh and one of the best that Philip has written for Fledgling Press to date, in my opinion. I really think that there is scope to develop this idea into further books which would be a fantastic delight.

This is a brilliant five star entertaining read that will make you look at the city of Edinburgh in a new and different light.... 

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