Tag Archives: Mark Huckerby

Guest Post – Magical Mystery Tour by Mark Huckerby


Today I have a fab guest post from one half of an awesome dynamic writing duo of a brilliant MG Fantasy series, Mark Huckerby.

Defender Of The Realm: Dark Age was released on the 1st June and is the second book in this brilliant series and I am SO excited to read it!  I was a huge fan of the first book in the series and it left me craving more!

Praise for Defender of the Realm

Defender of the Realm was longlisted for the 2017 Branford Boase Award, and shortlisted for The Brilliant Book Award Nottingham (February 2017) and  Stockton Children’s Book of the Year (March 2017).

Entertaining, gripping and full of action and plot twists”  – Sunday Express 
 
“A thrilling mashup of history and fantasy”  – Kirkus Reviews  
 
“Defender of the Realm is unashamedly fun!”  – Derek Landy, author of Skulduggery Pleasant

You can find my review of Defender Of The Realm here

Praise for Defender of the Realm: Dark Age

“Brilliant sequel to Defender of the Realm a fabulous fantasy for children and adults alike” –

Ravenmaster HM Tower of London @ravenmaster1

So sit back and relax and let Mark share his love of ruins….and some cute baby Mark pictures too……


After the great battle at King Alfie’s coronation, the nation thinks it’s seen the last of the Black Dragon, and Alfie gets busy learning what it means to fill his father’s shoes. But when a band of undead Vikings appears, Alfie, Hayley and the rest of the Yeoman Warders fear that Professor Lock is back to finish what he’s started. 
 
For the epic battle that’s brewing, Alfie will need to enlist help from abroad, as well as from a mysterious new friend who seems to be watching over him…


Magical Mystery Tour

I love a good ruin.

One of my earliest memories is of clambering all over the walls of the 900 year old Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire while my Granddad looked on. A little later, I used to plead with my father to take me to Bodiam Castle in Sussex every weekend; I was convinced that in some forgotten tower I would somehow find a sword that a medieval knight would just have, I don’t know, left lying around. Corfe Castle in Dorset was another favourite and yep, I really thought I might stumble upon a suit of armour tucked away behind the gatehouse as I explored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s become kind of a cliché to depict kids as groaning with boredom as they’re dragged off around castles, abbeys and stately homes by their parents but I honestly loved it. It simultaneously ignited a passion for history and fired up my imagination. Thinking about it, there’s a direct link from my childhood to the Defender of the Realm series that I’ve written alongside my writing partner, Nick Ostler. It’s allowed me to indulge in my twin loves of history and fantasy and combine them, just like I did when I was young.

When Nick and I write, we often talk about the formula of “something true + something new”. It spawned the central idea of the book:  “what if the kings and queens of Britain were secretly superheroes, sworn to protect Britain from monsters and super villains?” The ‘something true’ part of the formula is of course the real history of Britain and the ‘something new’, well, that’s where dragons and stinking zombie Vikings come in. So in the secret history of Defender of the Realm, the Great Fire of London in 1666 was of course started by a dragon and the Spanish Armada was sunk by a giant squid. Dur, as if you didn’t know.

We’ve also applied the formula to the locations in the book, giving iconic British landmarks an enchanted twist as they’re inducted into our fantasy universe. In the book, the Tower of London is of course the home to the Crown Jewels, well the fake ones for the tourists anyway. It’s below ground in “the Keep”, the Defender’s secret base, that the real magical goodies are kept and guarded by the loyal beefeaters. Buckingham Palace is still the home to the monarch, but we’ve added a magical supersonic state coach that runs through a secret tunnel all the way to the Tower of London and the underground base.  Edinburgh Castle is (really) built on the plug of an extinct volcano that of course isn’t so dormant in the fantasy world of the book.

In Defender of the Realm: Dark Age, the second in the series, we’ve had the pleasure of adding yet more locations as we build up our world. Undead Vikings are the slightly whiffy new villains and, are attracted back to the places their forebears raided a thousand years ago, looking for gold. Two cities with Viking history, York and Cambridge feature heavily. One of my favourite chapters takes place on Lindisfarne. Also known as Holy Island, it sits just off the coast of Northumberland and is the site of a lonely monastery and wind-swept castle. In the book, it’s home to a Roderick “Sultana” Raisin, a semi-retired beefeater, secretly charged with keeping a look out from Britain’s coast for supernatural threats. And let’s just say old Sultana is the first UK citizen for a thousand years to get up close and personal with a Viking…

And there’s a personal connection here, too. When I was little, I visited Lindisfarne abbey and castle with my grandparents. I clambered over the walls and probably hoped I’d stumble upon a knight’s rusty gauntlet or at the very least, a secret room leading to a magical world. And thirty years later, writing this book, I kind of got my wish.

Defender of the Realm: Dark Age by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler published by Scholastic is out now.

You can buy a copy here or from your local bookshop!

You can find my review of the first book in the series, Defender Of The Realm here


About Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler

Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are Emmy and BAFTA-nominated screenwriters best known for writing popular TV shows such as Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds Are Go! 

You can find out more about Mark & Nick on their website www.ostlerandhuckerby.com

Or why not follow them both on twitter using @huckywucky and @nickostler


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Lorraine at Scholastic for having me as part of this fab tour and to Mark for a brilliant guest post!

Have you read Defender Of The Realm: Dark Ages?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading and defending the country!

Review – Defender Of The Realm by Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler


Defender of the Realm

I have recently read this fun, action packed MG fantasy by the brilliant duo Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, Defender Of The Realm which is released today on the 3rd March 2016 and I loved ever page of it!  I am so over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book!

For my stop on the blog tour I am going to share my thoughts on the book and post a review!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers , Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler and Scholastic for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read.


Defender of the Realm

Super-villains. Hungry monsters. One kid to stop them all. Meet King Alfie: fourteen-year-old British monarch and Defender of the Realm. Alfie never expected to become king so young. He definitely didn’t expect to become a legendary superhero: the Defender. Which means fighting an ancient secret battle against mega-villains and evil monsters. All while grappling with adoring crowds, paparazzi and minders. Now the terrible Black Dragon is rising. Only Alfie can stop him. Think being a king is just about wearing a crown? Wrong.


Publisher – Scholastic UK

Published – 3rd March 2016

Pages – 340 pages

Format – Paperback and E-book

Category – MG Fantasy

Source – I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful people at Scholastic as part of the blog tour organised by Faye Rogers.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Scholastic for sending this to me to read and to Faye for organising!


** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**


I wasn’t sure what to expect from Defender Of The Realm, but as soon as it came through the post I skim read the first few pages fully intrigued and I was immediately drawn into a world that mixed the real world and fantasy world flawlessly and all with some historical facts, humour and well known United Kingdom landmarks too!

Defender Of The Realm tells the story or Alfie who is a reluctant heir to the thrown and who finds himself thrust into the limelight to take on his duty a little earlier in life than he would have thought.  What Alfie doesn’t expect is the extra responsibilities that come with it… you know the kind of thing…Crown Jewels, Paparazzi, BECOMING AN AWESOME SUPERHERO CALLED THE DEFENDER AND SAVING THE WORLD FROM THE BLACK LIZARD!  When Alfie becomes King he discovers a whole new duty to his country that is steeped in history and kept a secret for many years.  And when the evil Black Lizard seems unstoppable Alfie has to learn to protect his country, be King and be The Defender, but is Alfie the right person for the job?

This book is a real page turner!

I loved the feel of this book.  It felt so very British.  I loved the way even though the characters are fictional I felt like I was taking a sneaky peak behind the scenes of the actual royal family.  That’s how real the characters came across for me.  I loved the references to historical landmarks or traditions which I recognised like The Tower Of London, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey and the tradition of a Coronation and who knew there was a volcanoes under Edinburgh Castle 😉

You will never look at a Beefeater…I mean Yoeman Warder the same ever again after reading this book…..oh the secrets that they possibly hold!

It really reads like a film.  You could picture the scenes playing out on the screen in front of you.

*Hints for someone to make this into a TV show or film immediately*

To top all of this off this book was not only packed with a brilliant action packed plot and brilliant story line it also had a brilliant cast of superb characters.

I adored Alfie right from the action packed off set!  He is heir to the thrown, but doesn’t want to be treated as such and just wants to be a normal boy who can go out for pizza when he wants to.  As a reader I think you really feel for Alfie and you really want him to do well.  You see him grow and mature slightly throughout the book almost like becoming the superhero Defender brings something out in him that he never knew was there.

I also loved Hayley so so much.  The girl who looks after her gran who is thrust into the middle of the world of Alfie, The Defender and the Black Lizard when a trip to The Tower Of London with her gran turns into a battle and she finds a keeps a piece of the Black Lizards tail!  Hayley was awesome.  She says what she thinks and doesn’t give two hoots what people think.  She is honest, caring, funny and demands her voice to be heard.  The friendship between Hayley and Alfie is a friendship that would last forever.

That’s another thing about this book.  It made me laugh and giggle in places.  There are some classic one liners or comedic moments that really make you grin like a Cheshire cat beaming from ear to ear and make you love these characters and the story even more.

There were two characters especially that did just this for me… Brian and L.C.  Oh how I want them to have their own spin off or sketch show.  They were absolutely brilliant fun.  Always at Alfie’s side, but in roles of responsibility.  Brian was the more carefree of the two trying to always tell the “bad smell under his nose” L.C to give Alfie and often Hayley a break.  I loved how L.C was so traditional and does things by the book and when this does not go to plan he is all out of sorts.  But they both have Alfie’s back.  They were a brilliant comedy duo.  They kind of reminded me a little of Jeeves and Wooster or Hacker and Humprey from Yes Prime Minster.

The scene where L.C takes Alfie into the secret passage from Buckingham Palace to the Tower to a secret under ground lair had me in absolute stitches!  There’s Alfie who is experiencing this for the first time and being told to get in a small carriage as it’s quicker and there’s L.C all laid back like he’s about to board the train with his newspaper.  It’s a brilliant scene.

Also a little shout out to the badies….. Fulcher and Turpin the so called MI5 agents who would give the two wet bandits from Home Alone a run for their money and who I hope will make an appearance in book two.

And there’s the Black Lizard!

*quakes in boots*

*gulps*

*runs and hides*

Yes that’s right there is apparently going to be a book two and I cannot wait!  I need this book now!  Especially with the jaw dropping cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers that this book finished on!  I almost felt the authors write that last line with glee mixed with an extremely evil laugh 😉

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves an action packed, superhero read that will make you turn the page and laugh, but also make your heart beat and with all with a little twist along the way that I for one didn’t see coming.

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!

1Defender of the Realm

You can buy Defender of the Realm (Defender of the Realm #1) here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here


About Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler

Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are Emmy and BAFTA-nominated screenwriters best known for writing popular TV shows such as Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds Are Go! 

You can find out more about Mark & Nick on their website www.ostlerandhuckerby.com

Or why not follow them both on twitter using @huckywucky and @nickostler


Blog Tour

Defender Blog Tour Banner

Monday 29th February

Powered by Reading

Library Girl and Book Boy

 Tuesday 1st March

Book Lover Jo

A Bookish Life

 Wednesday 2nd March

Minerva Reads

A Daydreamers Thoughts

 Thursday 3rd March

Tales of Yesterday

My Book Corner

Friday 4th March

Chouett

Ya Ya Yeah

 Saturday 5th March

Bart’s Bookshelf

Big Book Little Book

 Sunday 6th March

The Arts Shelf

Bibliobeth


Have you read Defender Of The Realm?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading and defending the country!

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