The first thing to say about this book is that it is the sequel to “The Mapmakers’ Race”, which makes this a very exciting prospect indeed. For those who have not read the first book, it follows the adventures of the four Santander children as they go in search of their explorer father, who has disappeared on his latest expedition. They undertake a gruelling challenge called the “Mapmakers’ Race”, hoping to win enough money to continue their search. Despite dastardly competitors (not quite Whacky Races) they actually win and thanks to some teasing information they start out on a new adventure.
In “The Uprising”, the quartet of Sal, Joe, Francis and Humphrey are joined by their mother, as they follow their information to the small community of Cruxcia. They find that the area is under threat from a gigantic corporation called the Grania Trading Corporation, who have already appointed the local governor and want to take over the whole of the valley around the local mountain. The family find themselves in danger from the agents of the corporation, as well as from very unscrupulous map makers, who we met in the first book. As they begin to uncover the machinations of the giant corporation, the Santanders find themselves helping the local people who are trying to save their homes and land from the outsiders. Their adventures take us on a helter skelter ride as they face dangers that are both natural and also man-made, so hang on to your hats as we follow these intrepid mapmakers.
I am delighted to say that Eirlys Hunter has written this fascinating insight into her longing for adventure and how it was often thwarted by the adults in her life, when she was a child. This is probably why her heroes are able to go off and have adventures, sharing them with others of a similar age. This is yet another fantastically exciting story as the children continue their quest and find themselves getting closer to finding their father.
Searching for adventure
When I was young, I liked reading about families, and I liked reading about children who were competent. Who knew about motorbikes, or how to care for horses, who sailed boats, put on plays, or acted in films. Most of all, the children in my favourite books managed to have adventures, adventures that rarely involved adults, and never involved parents.
My sister and I wanted to have adventures more than anything. We lived in London, it should have been possible, but we just didn’t know how to go about it. Once, we persuaded our mother to drive us a long way from home and leave us to get back on our own with just our pocket money. It was exciting to be in an unknown street, miles from anywhere familiar, but then we turned round the first corner and there was the tube station by our mother’s work. We were home in less than an hour. Why did we go on the tube instead of, say, seeing where the first bus that came along would take us? Tragic.
We got our father to drop us at the head of the loch one holiday, with our expedition’s provisions. It was a four-mile walk along a straight road beside the loch to get back to Granny’s house, but long before we got there, the old Ford Consul pulled up and our father insisted we hop in.
We had our last stab at adventure the summer holiday I was thirteen. My sister and I left the campsite in the Italian Alps where we were staying with our parents. We said we were going for a walk, but we didn’t mention that we were going to try to touch the snow that we could see high above the valley. We climbed for hours, desperate for adventure. Then we touched the dirty old snow, and walked all the way back down the endless zigzag path to the tent. Our mother was beside herself – certain that something terrible must have happened. It was all so disappointing. It would have been so much more exciting if we’d been in a book.
I never managed to have an adventure when I was a child, but I nowadays I can invent children, write about them, and give them adventures. And the first thing I always do, is get rid of the parents. And if you read The Mapmakers books you’ll find out how I turned that disappointing hike to touch snow into a proper adventure.
The Uprising: The Mapmakers in Cruxcia is out now in paperback (£7.99, Gecko Press)