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Blitzcat

by Robert Westall

The Blitz. The firebombing of England, bloody England. Lord Gort doesn't understand war. She's just a lost cat trying to find her way home to the master with whom her comfort and content was complete. Her trip will take her into the heart of the war. Into the lives of the people she meets, most of whom believe black cats are lucky at a time when they desperately need luck, any edge against the danger and chaos. She experiences starvation and plenty. She gets cold shoulders and warm welcomes. She changes lives, even saves them, but as much as she becomes loved, she must eventually break hearts by leaving, and perhaps break her own heart on the way because she will not let comfort or danger force her to abandon her search for him... Characters caught in crisis are sharply, unforgettably drawn: The wife whose husband comes home so changed she cannot believe he's the same man, the Rough edged Sergeant, simmering with rage who gets things done and is loved by his men, The pilots who rely on superstition to give them courage to fly toward the enemy, the widow who is stopped from wanting to join her husband, just in time, and the animal loving mild mannered old horse-cart driver who discovers late in life that he has the qualities of a humane leader and businessman. The elements of war as they impact civilians and soldiers are illuminated: privation, uncertainty, loss of life and home, and killer bombs which rain unstoppably down from German planes to change England forever. An incredible story of this black cat trodding through England under fire and a world at war. is too good to pass over by any reader. Uses British punctuation and spelling like: labour, pyjamas, and defenceless, Unusual words like: assegais, pong, and Scottish dialect like: naas aboot, and German words like Schragemusik. All words with irregular-seeming spelling have been checked with the print book.

Christmas Spirit: Two Stories

by Robert Westall

These two Christmas stories especially appealing to middle school girls and boys are set in England. The first story begins with a boy's eager description of the Christmas celebrations with his family, including the gory and glorious details. He tells about flinging the toy robin on the Christmas cake so hard it flies across the room and watching in fascination as his Nana pulls the pink and brown coils and greeny, oval gall bladder out of the as yet unplucked Christmas bird. He reveals that if men at the Chemical factory where his father works aren't careful they can be roasted, boiled or fried. On the other hand, he remembers thinking that the strolling carolers he heard in bed at night were angels singing. On Christmas Eve as he takes lunch to his father, he believes he sees Santa in the elevator. The workers believe this is a sign that a worker will die. The boy is determined to communicate with the hatless Santa so he can prevent disaster. In the second story a lonely upper class girl staying with her uncle, a churchman nobody likes, forms a friendship with a poor boy. Together they rescue a cat and her kittens. She discovers it's the mean housekeeper who has turned everyone against her uncle. Protecting the cat becomes part of her plan to get rid of the nasty housekeeper so people will come to her uncle's church again, and on Christmas Eve, one good thing leads to another.

Futuretrack Five

by Robert Westall

Henry Kitson makes his first mistake when he scores a hundred per cent in his exams. Not for him therefore the glamorous cushy career pattern of most of his contemporaries. Promoted to Tech, he is equipped with a white coat and a clipboard and becomes one of that small body who keep the country's computerized living systems going. His second mistake is going on the razzle. In London, where survival depends on skill and daring and the population is controlled by fear and sensationalism, Kitson becomes pinball champion and meets blond, leather-clad Ken, London's bike-racing champion of Futuretrack 5. Together they go north in an uneasy partnership. And what they learn as they go, they don't like, for this is Britain of the twenty-first century and if you question the system too much you come to regret it. But who does know the answers? And what is Kitson's destined role? As a fortune teller predicts, "You'll regret what you'll do for the rest of your born days. And you'll have plenty of time to regret it." In this major new novel, Robert Westall has brilliantly created a future world which is all too plausible.

The Machine Gunners

by Robert Westall

With Nazi planes raining bombs on England night after night, every boy in Garmouth has a collection of shrapnel, bullet casings, and other war souvenirs. But nothing comes close to the working machine gun Chas McGill pulls out of a downed bomber. Soon Chas realizes that he's found more than just a souvenir. While police search frantically for the missing gun, Chas and his friends build a secret fortress to fight the Germans themselves.

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