Over the next few months, I’m highlighting some of my earlier novels. This month, I’ve been delving into treasure hunt adventure Uncle Flynn.
So what is Uncle Flynn about? If you want a proper introduction to the story, click here. However, the themes of the novel can be summed up thus: overcoming fear and the dangers of mollycoddling.
My protagonist Max suffers severe anxiety and panic attacks. He has many phobias, and there are satirical suggestions in the story that the UK’s risk-adverse society is at least partly to blame for this. For instance, one sequence early in the novel has Max being initiated into a secret club in school – a club that dares to play conkers without “protective head gear”. Max and the other children are caught and punished for their dangerous behaviour. This may sound absurd, but my late father (who was a teacher) told me that this kind of nonsense was being introduced into UK schools, in the name of health and safety.
However, such satire is largely peripheral, and the novel implies throughout that Max’s difficult, estranged relationship with his father is what really lies at the heart of his problems. In attempting to impress his father, Max – along with his mysterious, genuinely dangerous uncle – takes increasingly reckless action in his quest to find the treasure. The irony of the story is that mollycoddling actually leads Max to take greater and greater risks.
Of course, this makes the novel sound terribly heavy and worthy, and I can assure you it isn’t. It is, first and foremost, a children’s adventure story. I didn’t deliberately write it to contain any kind of conscious “message”. Rather, I have noticed these themes and ironies after the fact. What is important to any author will always be inherent in the text of their work, and in this case, I can see these themes in retrospect.
Here are a few reader review snippets, again mainly to reassure that then novel isn’t a pretentious, preachy slog, but a fun, gripping adventure for all ages:
“Harking back to the wonderful adventure stories of Arthur Ransome, Uncle Flynn is a welcome return to the excitement of outdoor exploits in wild surroundings. Excitement, tension and peril combine in a well-written tale where The Goonies meets Swallows and Amazons. The evocative descriptions of treasure seeking on Dartmoor will have you longing to visit and explore for yourselves. Action-packed puzzle-solving pleasure for children and adults alike, with a neat twist in the tale to keep you guessing.”
Mrs Alice R Brewer, Amazon.co.uk
“A treasure for all ages. Kids and teenagers would love this fast-paced adventure story. Most adults would also find it a light and enjoyable read.”
B Fraley, Amazon.com
“Don’t pass this one by… Doesn’t matter what type of fiction you like to read, I can imagine this would capture just about anyone’s attention – and heart.”
willreadanything, Barnes and Noble.
“Could not put the book down, so enjoyed the journey. Recommended it to my 12 year old grandson who now wants me to be his book reading adviser. Loved by three generations.”
Brinney, Barnes and Noble.
“What a wonderful book for young readers and anyone else who loves a book with a great twist on an amazing story of courage over fear.”
Beansie47, Barnes and Noble.
“I’m an 83 year old woman. Your book was a joy to me. I felt I was having all the adventures myself at this ripe old age. Your book was like a cold drink of water on a hot day. Thank you.”
Joan McLaughlin, commenting on the Uncle Flynn blog.
“I downloaded the book for my boys to read, and thought I’d just read the first few lines… Needless to say I read to the end! Well written and most enjoyable – great adventure with life lessons woven into the story.”
Cecile Weyers, commenting on the Uncle Flynn blog.
Uncle Flynn is available on Kindle and in paperback. Click here to pick up a copy.