There have been downpours of rain outside for days here in Yorkshire so I was more than pleased to be transported to the hot sun in Namibia in the YA novel Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy
Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy
Title: Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles
Author: Paul Twivy
Publisher: The Conrad Press
Release Date: 1st October 2019
This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.
Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space. They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.
Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?
This is one of those books where the cover matches the story perfectly; it’s vibrant, atmospheric and the desert in Namibia arrives in your living room, bed or wherever you are when you begin to read. It captured my imagination with the visual descriptions and the mystery of the fairy circles.
The four teenagers are distinct from each other with different personalities, backgrounds, cultures and unique talents but their shared curiosity and determination make them work together to solve the puzzle of the circles. Unlike many YA books, the teenagers are not alone on their adventure but have help from their parents who were not just blurry characters on the edges of the story. Theyhad their own fully formed stories and roles to play. It is a format that worked well and made it more believable. Paul Twivy has blended history, folklore, legends and stunning settings to produce a beautiful and unique novel which does not shy away from the horrors of the genocide which affects the country or other sensitive topics. I learnt things I was unaware of reading this.
There are many climate change references and a few older teenagers and adults could view it as didactic but most will nod and agree with the underlying message of protecting and nurturing the environment and our planet now rather than later.
Would I recommend?
This is one of those books which make me happy to be a book blogger. If I hadn’t been invited on to this tour and shown the blurb, this novel would have gone under my radar and I am so glad it didn’t. It reminded me of the books that sat on my twelve year old’s forever shelf and it would have slotted in perfectly.
Paul Twivy studied English at Oxford University and became one of the most famous British admen. He has written comedy and drama for the stage and radio. He edited the bestseller Change the World for a Fiver. He is married with five children. He was inspired to write Hallowed Ground by his first-hand experiences of the extraordinary landscapes and culture of Namibia.
A big thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and The Conrad Press for the chance to read this delightful book and give my honest, unbiased opinion.