Jet Perkins – a natural-born rebel who will risk anything to save her family
Jack Lennox – the London street urchin who lives on his wits, with the help of his dog, Woz
Paulie McAllister – the posh boy whose parents abandoned him in an orphanage
Sparkler McAllister – he can't talk but he can fight, and this six-year-old is devoted to his big brother
This is the world of the Marble, created from a child's imagination and teeming with millions of metal toys called Mechanicals. These rockets, tin robots, construction kits and flying discs seem the perfect playthings of a 1950s childhood... but they rule the Marble. And tin toys have no heart.
A planet within a glass ball... cities of machines that soak up power from the sun... tin Teddy Boys armed with death-rays... submarines and sea-monsters... gravity-defying wheels that surf through the air... vintage planes and motorbikes... living holograms... this is a unique and distinctive world, instantly recognisable, imagined in intense detail. It's filled with Fifties-style sci-fi and futurism, from the Golden Age of adventure comics and classic adventure stories.
JACK AND THE SPITFIRES – Book Two: The Mines is the second in a trilogy of stories about The Marble and the four children trapped inside it, fighting for their lives. In the tradition of Star Wars, Dr Who, Narnia, Harry Potter and John Carter of Mars, this adventure story is suitable for children aged nine and up, and for adults who never grew up.
Christopher Stevens is a widely published writer and journalist. His biography of Kenneth Williams, Born Brilliant, was abridged as a Radio Four Book of the Week, and shortlisted for the Sheridan Morley Theatre Biography prize. His celebration of the fathers of classic sitcom, Galton & Simpson, was launched at the National Theatre on London's South Bank and led to the premiere performance of a lost comedy masterpiece, The Day Off, which he discovered.
His memoir, A Real Boy, was hailed as "incredibly moving" by the Sun. For the past 15 years, Christopher Stevens has been a senior sub-editor at the Observer, Britain's oldest and most respected Sunday newspaper. He has also written for newspapers and magazines from Hello! to the Telegraph, and been interviewed more than 50 times for television and radio about his books, including keynote appearances on NPR and CNN.
Genre: Fantasy/ Young Adult sci-fi adventure
Length: 220 pages/ 48,500 words
Parental guidelines: no swearing or sexual content