Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword (3 stars)

Joe Donnelly

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Joe Donnelly had his nose broken four times working as an investigative journalist. Unpleasant, but nothing compared to the traumas of the adolescent adventurers of his debut children’s novel Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword. Curious and hoping to understand his long-lost father, Jack Flint and his mirthful Irish friend, Kerry Malone, are lured into a forbidden world where they encounter orphan warrior, Corriwen Redthorn, and assorted fiends from whom they must save the world, no less.
Facing up to slavering hounds, infernal forces of ‘foulness as evil as mortal sin’, turncoat clansmen, blood-sucking bats with faces like human skulls, and gigantic eels, the odds of them even surviving are not great. There’s teenage romance and some banter to lighten the mood in the unremitting darkness. What carries the book are Donnelly’s humour and the fact that he has clearly thoroughly enjoyed writing it.

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