“The Prisoner” by Robert Muchamore (2012)
I don’t think there’s anything as wonderful as pre-ordering a book and receiving it the day it is released in the store. I queued up for more than one Harry Potter book with Julian over the years and there is definitely something exciting about knowing that readers with the same love of a series as you are eagerly salivating over the latest book at exactly the same time as you are.
So, first I should recap, on the off-chance that you haven’t kept up with my Muchamore obsession. Robert Muchamore has published 19 books and written 20 (one, a novella, was a one-day only release, on World Book Day, 2008) about CHERUB and its founder, Charles Henderson. There are 13 books (plus the novella) in the original CHERUB series. There is one book in the new ARAMOV series, which is still about CHERUB, but with all new characters. Then there is the series for which a new book was released a little over a week ago… the HENDERSON BOYS series. In a nutshell, CHERUB and ARAMOV are set in current time, while the HENDERSON BOYS books are set during World War II, when Charles Henderson first realised how effective using children as spies could be. But if you were reading my Reading Notes last year, you already knew all of that…
In the fourth book of the HENDERSON BOYS series, “Grey Wolves”, one of the characters, Marc Kilgour, was captured and disappeared while undercover in Paris. “The Prisoner” is Marc’s story. Once captured, he was sent to Germany and held on a prison ship. Fortunately, his ability to speak French and German meant that he was given an administrative job instead of a labouring one, and it is his work for a Commandant in the prisoner administration office that leads Marc into cooking up an elaborate escape plan for himself and some of his fellow prisoners. What follows is a complicated and dangerous adventure that sees Marc narrowly escape capture and death several times, before he ends up right back where he started, 5 books ago, in an orphanage in France. And that is when the real adventures begin.
I love the way Muchamore writes, and I loved this book. However, the HENDERSON BOYS in particular, are written for older teens, and seem to be more appealing to boys than girls. The CHERUB books, on the other hand, seem equally attractive to either sex. Certainly, I know one boy in my year 9 class who will be extremely pleased to see me with “The Prisoner” in my hand tomorrow as he has been desperate for me to finish it and hand it over!