Sam and Chloe never thought they would spend the summer holidays fighting a battle against the dark past that haunts Kingsholt, a mansion inherited by Chloe's parents.
A long time ago the Vikings burnt down the monastery that was built near Kingsholt. A few monks who escaped hid the monastery's treasure and dug a pit in which to bury the slaughtered monks. They swore that if anyone opened up the pit and used it for other purposes a darkness would fall over the area.
Nimbus,an obsessive one-time circus hypnotist and acrobat, lives with his wife and two children in a cottage in the woods of Kingsholt. He opens up the pit and uses it for all his rubbish. With death, kidnap and madness ensuing, can Sam and Chloe and their guardian Aidan, bring back the light to Kingsholt?
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Review of Kingsholt by Susan Holliday
From the first page this story crackles with a sense of mystery and foreboding. The reader is drawn in through Sam, the boy from Balham, who receives a mysterious letter from his cousin Chloe, inviting him to visit her at the ramshackle Kingsholt.
The gradual reveal of the story’s central battle – for Chloe’s wellbeing – has the pace and feeling of unwrapping layers found in an Alan Garner novel. There is a deep and uncomfortable sense of magic, which the author uses to convey the dangers of being ensnared by someone who knows how to wield power.
Nimbus, the dark character of the novel who attempts to trap Chloe in revenge for the death of his own daughter, is a damaged man stuck in a storm of grief. Susan Holliday skillfully presents him as a man for whom we feel sympathy alongside danger. She explores the theme of the past influencing the present, never allowing the characters to be merely good or evil: in this book there is a reason for all actions, a line between then and now.
Kingsholt itself, the broken old house inherited by Chloe’s parents, is strongly evoked. It too is damaged, and overwhelming project to restore that Chloe’s parents escape from at every opportunity. Surrounding the house is glorious countryside and ancient ruins. Light and dark play out as Sam struggles to rescue his cousin, whilst longing for the simplicity of the city; for kicking a ball around; for the grace of writing beautifully according to set rules.
The story’s sense of history gives the reader a chance to see a wide perspective. Just as the buzzard that we glimpse throughout the book sees all from above, so we are able to see how events connect and create consequence. This wonderful, multi-layered storytelling is engaging, and delivers a powerful message about the nature of good and evil, right and wrong. A highly enjoyable adventure, this is a must-read for 11 – 111s.
~ Jessica Small
Here is a fine and beautifully written adventure story with all the cliff-hanger elements needed to keep one in suspense: murderous plots and an ancient mystery, riddles, clues, rhymes and a map, darkness and ambush in a forest, a burial pit and a hidden tunnel, a time warp of omens and terror where innocence and evil fight to the death and beyond.
~ Mandy Pannett