Wolfie Brown, Tala Bean and Zi’ib Bakri live continents apart, but their destiny lies in a rundown London suburb. The mysterious force of ancient ley lines brings them to Thornham to fulfil a prophecy written in prehistory. As they fight their faceless enemies, they discover why their parents have vanished and learn the chilling truth of who they really are…
Quicksilver is my first book for children and it’s full of ideas and snippets of fact that I picked up while making documentaries for television.
Years ago I worked on a series called House Detectives where a team of archaeologists armed with old maps, tape measures, picks and shovels would descend on an ordinary family home and try to trace its history as far back in time as they could. It was amazing what they found. Even houses that were no more than fifty or sixty years old might stand on a plot of land marked by a bronze age boundary or a family might discover that the old outhouse where dad stored his tools was in fact a medieval cow byre. Wonky window frames, uneven lines of brickwork and strange place names were all clues to the hidden history of the houses we filmed.
The series got me thinking about the lost worlds that lie beneath our modern burger bars and backstreets and the tiny traces of the ancient past that still lurk in the most unlikely places if we just know where and how to look for them. So although Thornham (where Quicksilver is set) is an imaginary suburb of South London its ancient history is based on the very real and very ordinary South London suburbs of Streatham, Tooting Bec and West Norwood, which are near to where I live.
Like Thornham, Streatham appears in the Domesday book where it is called Estreham (the hamlet on the street) and it was once owned by an ancient Benedictine Abbey - the Bec Hellouin Abbey in Normandy, which is where Tooting Bec gets its name from. The A23 which runs past the common was once a major Roman road to the coast and was very probably built on a much earlier trackway. St. Leonard’s church Streatham, like St. Michael’s in the story dates back to Saxon times and parts of its medieval tower are still standing.
So as Wolfie, Tala and Zi’ib discover, it doesn’t matter where you live archaeology is all around you and if you want to get involved in digs and events in your area go to the Young Archaeologists’ Club website www.britarch.ac.uk.
- Born: Thornham - a suburb of South London with a lot of forgotten history
- Parents: Lives with his mother, father disappeared when he was a baby
- Appearance: Tousled blond hair, green eyes flecked with gold
- Born: Mount Shasta in California’s Cascade Mountains
- Parents: Lives with her father whose disappearance at the start of Quicksilver, takes her to Thornham to live with her guardian
- Appearance: Long straight dark hair, shows her Native American Indian heritage - she has green eyes, much like Wolfie
- Born: Near Meroe in northern Sudan
- Parents: Lives with his mother, Shadia, a school teacher who is kidnapped at the beginning of Quicksilver. Zi’ib didn’t know his father who disappeared when he was a baby.
- Appearance: Gangly, dark skinned with curly hair but with unusual green eyes, which his mother attributes to his absent father
“A superbly constructed and vividly depicted tale of ley lines, anceint prophecies, interplanetary communication and a dog called Elvis……This is a superbly absorbing old fashioned thriller….“ The Telegraph
“It would be glib but not inaccurate to describe Quicksilver as “Dan Brown for younger readers.” The plot involves the search for lost knowledge, the unravelling of clues and coded conundrums and, at the heart of it all, a mystery that mingles parascience with historical conspiracy.
Wolfie, Tala and Zi’ib, three twelve year olds from different countries, all have fathers who inexplicably disappeared. Using their wits and brains, and aided unwittingly by an eccentric old researcher, they discover powers relating to the nexus of ley lines that underlies the area. Smart Entertainment Deftly Done.”
- James Lovegrove, Financial Times
“..if you love stone circles, planetary alignments, Atlantis myths and ancient history, then curl up with Quicksilver.” - Amanda Craig, The Times Online
“This is an outstanding read which will have every reader gripped to the end. I give this book five out of five - a great ending with lots to keep the reader entertained. I am looking forward to the next book by this exciting new author.” - Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books
“I was genuinely sad when this book ended; it felt real to me and I was gripped…” - TheBookbag.co.uk
“Told at a cracking pace…” - Love Reading 4 Kids