Synopses & Reviews
Murder mystery meets carnival flair in a rollicking Victorian adventure centered on a boy with a unique appearance — and unique gifts.
In the seedy underworld of Victorian London, a boy is born and abandoned. Snatched up by an unscrupulous and abusive showman, Wild Boy, covered in hair from head to toe, becomes a sideshow freak. Isolated from other children and wickedly abused by the cruel master who bought him, Wild Boy becomes an avid observer, developing Sherlock Holmes-like deductive skills. Although he is tormented and insulted, kicked and spat at, his quick mind takes in everything he sees. When a murder occurs at the fair, Wild Boy is hastily accused. Can he use his powers of deduction to save himself? And will the talented and spunky young acrobat Clarissa be with him — or against him? Readers will be swept along by the cinematic pace, immersed in the vivid historical setting, and gripped by suspense as they wait to find out if a better fate could possibly await someone so very different.
"After eight grueling years in a London workhouse, an extremely hairy orphan is taken by 'Carnival King' Augustus T. Finch, dubbed Wild Boy, and advertised as 'the missing link between man and bear!' The year is 1841, and the traveling circus subjects 11-year-old Wild Boy to cruelty, prejudice, and abuse, but also sharpens his observation skills: 'It was just what came from years of being locked up with nothing to do but watch the world and dream that he was someone else.' When a doctor and professor are found dead nearby, Wild Boy and a fellow circus performer and amateur thief, Clarissa, turn into suspects on the run, with an ominous stolen note in hand about a futuristic machine designed for ethically dubious purposes. Elements of classic detective stories unfold against a magnetic vintage carnival backdrop, and the narrative maintains levity despite Wild Boy's maltreatment. British author/editor Jones delivers a message about true friendship through Clarissa who learns to love Wild Boy not as a spectacle, but as an individual whose struggles have contributed to his substance and complexity. Ages 10 up. Agent: Clare Conville, Conville & Walsh Literary Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Rob Lloyd Jones is the author of more than thirty books, primarily historical nonfiction and adaptations of classic literature. He writes for television and is a senior editor at Usborne. Rob Lloyd Jones lives in London.