1836 Do you dare? Fighting Bones by S. Laguna
Published by Penguin Books Australia
‘Take on a bully? Escape from prison? Risk your life to save your brother? It’s an adventure in history. Do you dare?’
It’s the year 1836, and Declan, with his younger brother Danny, are boy convicts shipped out from Ireland to endure the hardship of Point Puer Boys Prison in Van Diemen’s Land, what we now know to be as Tasmania. The two hardy brothers, more courageous than their young years show, are kept busy with hard labour in the fields, and dodging floggings from the guards. They are as thick as thieves, and their bond is strong, forged by a promise Declan gave to his mother before they left - Declan at all costs was to keep his young brother safe. Due to the prison bully, Striker, taking a murderous interest in Danny, this promise is to be put to the ultimate test. Fortunately they have a couple of allies, in two other comical Irish boys, Seamus and Col, and between them, they will try any means to outwit Striker, the guards, and anyone else in their path, to keep Danny safe.
The story, Fighting Bones, is part of the historical adventure series, ‘Do you dare?’ All of which are set in different periods throughout Australia. This particular book is written by S. Laguna, whose time spent in Tasmania, and growing up on a farm, has given her the perfect perspective to write such a tale. Laguna’s descriptions of the countryside are spot on, I too have lived in Tasmania, and her beautifully sculpted words took me straight back to the open yellow wheat filled fields and grand blue skies, skies that can change in an instant, from the storms that quickly roll in from the southern seas. Just like Tasmanian skies, in the book, you don’t know what will happen next, the trials for Declan and crew, come thick and fast, and their courage and sheer determination in such a harsh environment, makes for a wonderfully riveting read – a real page turner.
I found this book to be the perfect time machine, it created a truly believable and vivid setting of that period, and I felt like I was again a boy, on a heart pumping, spine tingling adventure. Only, I wouldn’t have had a pinch of the courage shown by these boys, and the many souls that would have genuinely walked through the gates of Point Puer Boys Prison (it was an actual place). Do you dare? I’m glad I did, but I must admit, I was even gladder it was from the safety of my cosy couch.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: S. Laguna
Illustrator: Guy Shield
Title: 1836 Do you dare? Fighting Bones
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Published: June 2014