Tuesday 10 August 2010

The Emerald Casket

The Emerald Casket by Richard Newsome (Text Publishing)
PB RRP $19.95
ISBN 978-1-921656-45-3
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

Richard Newsome won the inaugural Text Publishing Prize with his first book in The Billionaire Trilogy, The Billionaire's Curse. The Emerald Casket is the follow-up and takes 13-year-old billionaire Gerald Wilkins and his friends to India in search of an emerald casket which is somehow linked to his mysterious family connections and history. It also brings him once again into the path of the villain of the piece, Sir Mason Green.

Kids will love how Newsome skilfully employs devices to manoeuvre the adults out of the way: work, greedy parents off gallivanting, the odd abduction or arrest. It is up to Gerald, Sam, Ruby and Alisha to find the casket and foil Green.

The job is not easy. The four are constantly confronted by obstructions but through a combination of ingenuity, courage and good luck they achieve their aim. Plot twists and characters popping in and out keep readers on their toes. Yet, the story is not all action. There is sibling rivalry and the slightest touch of teenage romance to contend with as well.

The Emerald Casket is a fun read with some great description thrown in as well. The New Delhi train station is described as ‘a bubbling curry’ and a sleeper carriage on an Indian train as ‘a compressed sausage of life stuffed into a twenty-metre-long metal tube and cooked at forty-three degrees Celsius’.

Upper primary and lower secondary readers will enjoy this ripping yarn and be on the look-out for the final instalment of The Billionaire Trilogy.

Richard Newsome is interviewed in the 15 August 2010 issue of Buzz Words.

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