Book covers are not usually mentioned in the course of book review - not unless they are truly compelling, as is The Headmaster's Cave, designed to capture young adult attention with the scene of a cave, a raging sea, and a boy hanging on to a cliff edge by his fingertips. One could not wish for a more persuasive reason to find out more; and once immersed in the events, The Headmaster's Cave does not disappoint.
Over a hundred years ago, seven children and their headmaster vanished in the cave - including one of George's ancestors; a fact that has haunted his family for generations. A mysterious email states that the mystery has been solved and invites George, Dougie and Katie to learn more - but only Dougie takes the bait; and when he, too, vanishes, it's up to George and Katie to solve the mystery.
One couldn't ask for better tension in a read recommended for advanced elementary through middle grade readers. There's the influence of years of jokes and bullying among George's peers concerning his family's relationship with The Headmaster's Cave; there're minefields of danger involved in an escapade that involves George drawing on limited knowledge along the way ("He loved to watch wilderness television programmes and read survival books, so he searched through his memory banks on building fires."), and there's a host of difficult possibilities that must be examined and either accepted or discarded in the course of investigations ("What if he were telling the truth? His ancestor had been the killer. It would be unbearable if it was true. That the monster who had stalked his nightmares for so long belonged to his family?").
In the end the truth about The Headmaster's Cave and the events surrounding it will come as a surprise - but not until chapters of thrilling adventures, self-examination, and challenging encounters spice a read designed to draw in even the more reluctant reader, providing a vivid story that explains some events but leaves the door open for further adventures....Continua