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The Life & Time of Lonny Quicke

Kirsty Applebaum

Nosy Crow – publishes 6th May 2021

This book tempted and teased me from the very moment it arrived through the door – talking to me from the To Be Read pile, begging me to pick it up…and when I did, I could not put it down.

I devoured The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke in one sublime sitting, stopping only to get a few hours sleep. It’s the sign of a good book when it’s the first thing you think about when you awake and finding out what happens is the only thing on your mind.

Kirsty Applebaum has done it again! If The Middler and Troofriend hadn’t already claimed her place as a prominent voice in middle-grade fiction, she’s back to cement it with this heart-stopping contemporary fairytale of the gift of life.

What if you could save lives? What if, with just the touch of your hand, you could stop an animal, or even a person dying?

You’d do it, wouldn’t you?

But what if it meant you got older each time? Older and older…until you had no time left yourself.

Would you do it then?

Lonny lives hidden away in the forest, with his watch-maker father, grandfather and younger brother Midge. The rest of the world doesn’t even know the boys exist and it’s safer that way as Lonny is a ‘lifeling,’ a person who can revive and heal those at the brink of death.

However this unique power comes at great cost; for every life saved, Lonny loses part of his own and the boys have listened to ancient tales of their grandmother’s where lifelings have perished preserving life. Until now, Lonny has only ever used his power to heal tiny woodland animals – he’s much taller than the average 12 year old, but his life hasn’t been cut short by much.

But everything changes when the boys venture into the nearby town of Farstoke. The annual Lifeling Festival is hours away – a yearly event where lifelings are almost worshipped and the local legend is kept alive. How long before the towns-folk realise a lifeling walks among them? And how long before someone needs Lonny’s help?

There are impossible choices to be made – it’s literally life or death…

I was absolutely gripped throughout. There were so many moments where I had to stop my eyes darting across the pages to satisfy the need to know.

With tales as old as time woven into the plot and the atmospheric setting of the isolated countryside town of Farstoke, the story feels like folklore. The Lifeling festival with all its rituals, superstitions, offerings and ceremonies has a certain eeriness about it that had imagining far away villages out in the sticks.

The whole concept would undoubtedly spark a great deal of discussion and debate in the classroom – should we save one life at the expense of another? How would you choose who or what to save…?

This is definitely one for the pre-order list and I’m looking forward to plenty of book-blethering about Lonny Quicke over the coming months.

A huge thanks to Nosy Crow for the advance copy.

Visit the Nosy Crow website & read the first two chapters here

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