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3.6 out of 5 stars17
3.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 3 December 2008
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First of all, a word of warning - you don't discover until the very end that this story is incomplete, and is to be continued in another book called Rivers of Fire. So if you like everything to be neatly tied up, you won't get that here.

The story is of a history teacher, Ivor Culldragon, who suddenly finds himself as a young boy in Wales in AD 43, when the Romans are invading. So if you want to know what life was like for the Celts at that time, there is some imaginative writing about it in this 150-page young person's adventure book. The information provided by Amazon said that it is suitable for age 9+, but I would have thought it too old for a 9-year-old, quite apart from the descriptions of bloody battles and violent death. There is some historical background at the end, filling the reader in about the Roman invasion and Celtic beliefs, and for a schoolchild studying this period the book can be recommended, provided of course that the "magical" elements are not taken seriously. It took me some time to get into the "adventure" part of the story, when Ivor becomes a Celtic boy, but it gets quite exciting and fast-moving as the battle approaches. The author is clearly very knowledgeable about the early history of Celtic Wales.
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VINE VOICEon 16 December 2008
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In the Secret World of Ivor Culldragon the author has made an attempt to use a different concept for their story with having the main character apeear to travel through time to affect the past.

Ivor Culldragon is a teacher who after an "incident" at his school has decided to leave the job and return to wales to stay with his sister and nephew at the old family home. He gets a job at the local library/museum which job caters to his interest in history and discovery which he inherited from his father who was an explorer who vanished under mysterious circumstances on his last expedition and he is working with the strange and scary Miss Loop who doesn't want him looking in an old black trunk in the store room.

One Saturday when on his own Ivor decides to dig out the old ruin at the bottom of the garden and while doing so finds a relic he falls asleep and wakes to find himself now a teenager in pre roman Britain working for the local blacksmith. Ivor finds himself in the middle of intrigue and plots which culminates with the romans invading. He suddenly finds himself back in the present having changed the past.

Ms Bonner obviously knows her history and the celtic period and is trying to incorporate this into her story to stimulate the interest of her readers. This is also planned as the first of a series of books in which presumably Ivor finds out about his missing father and has more adventures in the past.

This is aimed at the younger reader and the length is appropriate for that age group with enough adventure to stimulate their interest.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 January 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In book one of this series, Ivor Culldragon is an extremely mild mannered thirty something man who following an incident at the school he teaches at, resigns from his job and travels to Wales to regroup and spend time with his sister and nephew. Passionate about history, Ivor lands a temporary job in the local museum and soon encounters the scary Miss Loop and the malevolent Reverend Mallatocious; a man Ivor's local neighbour who claims to be psychic warns him about.

Until this point the plot remains fairly pedestrian and slow paced; however when Ivor attempts to investigate a local ruin and finds a golden torc, he is transported back in time to the year 43 AD and into the body of a thirteen year old apprentice blacksmith. Ivor is soon attempting to foil a treacherous plot to assassinate the future king, dealing with mystical powers and the impending threat of the Roman invasion.

This author has written a book that vividly recreates an iron age England on the cusp of succumbing to Roman rulership. CEB successfully weaves mystical paganism into her story line and although there is plenty left undisclosed in this book; namely the mysterious disappearance of Ivor's father and exactly what the "others" are, it finishes with an ending that will guarantee young readers will snap up her sequel "Rivers of Fire" as soon as it becomes available.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Following what is referred to 'as an incident' in the school were Ivor Culldragon worked as a teacher, he returns to his native Wales to live with his sister and nephew.

He finds temporary work in a Museum but there are sinister forces at work unbeknown to him!

By a stint of fate whilst clearing out a 'ruin' in the back garden, he finds himself transported back in time and age to circa AD43. This is where the story really begins and although I am an adult I can say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will probably purchase the sequel.

The footnotes at the back of the book are immensely interesting and I think that any child above the age of say 9 or 10 would find this book a thrilling read.

There is a nice twist to the story near the end as well!
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VINE VOICEon 26 March 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sad to say, the quality of the cover of this book does not reflect the quality of the contents - so don't allow yourself to be put off by the front cover! As a teacher of 9 to 11 year olds, I find it very sad that the publishers should have made this book look so dull and boring from its front cover -the quality of the writing and the quality of the plot is worthy of something far more interesting! Indeed, this lovely little book is the first part of a series - and I hope that someone will get hold of it and give it a much better image in the future - as there must be much more to come (I hope!)

Following what is referred to as 'an incident' in the school where Ivor Culldragon previously worked as a History teacher, he returns to his native Wales to live with his sister and nephew. However, sinister forces are at work and he suddenly finds himself travelling back in time to life as a young boy in Wales in AD 43, around the time when the Romans were invading.

Imaginative writing helps to give the reader a good idea of what life may have been like for a young Celtish boy at the time - however, for me, I feel that it is not so much a book for 9 and 10 year olds as one for children considerably older (unless they come from Wales and are interested in that era!) - although I'm sure the battle scenes will appeal to the majority of boys!

I shall add it to my classroom library (as I intended when I requested it) and see what happens - but I fear that its market will be restricted.

Would a bolder, brighter cover have helped?
Knowing the chilkdren in my class, I can only shout a resounding answer of YES!!!!!
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although clearly a children's book, "The Dagger of Death", by first time author, Clare Elizabeth Bonner can very easily be enjoyed by adults too.

Everything about the book should appeal to those who like 'this sort of thing' - the evocative cover, the detailed & 'old worldly' pictures inside (drawn by the author) and the character names hinting at old names & magic (the hero is called Ivor Cull DRAGON)

The book is set in the mysterious Welsh countryside where our typically unassuming hero goes to seek refuge from some `incident' that occurred in the big bad urban life he was living in London (actually working as a school teacher)

He finds refuge in the family home of his sister & gets a job working in the local museum when the local job holder is suddenly taken ill. This homely and `safe' environment is nicely set against the strange boss of the museum and a sinister local vicar.

The story centres around Ivor's discovery of an ancient ruin in his sister's back garden (maybe a little too easily discovered!) and makes liberal use of Celtic myths and old Welsh traditions.

For a children's book it also has some slightly dark episodes and would probably be a little scary for some under 10s.

The author clearly knows her Celtic history and writes in a simple uncluttered prose and manages to avoid the mistake of talking down to her reader just because they are children.

The plot (whilst seeming very familiar) has enough twists and surprises to keep it interesting to the end.

As one reviewer has already noted, a sequel is needed but I think many readers (me included) will happily look forward to it and many more books by Ms Bonner.

Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2008
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well written story with superb illustrations. Excellent book for the young independent reader - well written, good use of vocabulary and all the things a parent or teacher would want from a book but at no cost to the pleasure of the reader. My 8 year son will love reading this himself.
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on 31 January 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book just does not know what it wants to be.
It's a story of two quite separate halves, & how much better this novel would be, if the author's editor had pointed her in one solid direction.
The Celtic time travelling had promise, but, how much more satisfying it could have been if the 13 year old nephew was the protagonist, rather than the 35yr old uncle transported into a 13yr old Celtic boys body....... Confused? You will be !
As for the supernatural elements in the 21st century part of the novel....I'm sorry to say that by the time I got to the very open-ended conclusion of the book, I was at the stage where I didn't care any more.
...Would I read the sequel ? Definately not.
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VINE VOICEon 9 December 2008
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure story. It was simple but fast paced and ideal for 9+ readers. I really can't wait to read the next installment!

It follows the adventure of Ivor Culldragon who transports through a time and ends up as a youth during the Celtic period.

It was great, something that children would really enjoy but the best thing about it though was, it gave you the experience of "living" the celtic way and during the time of the Roman invasion. It also explained terminoligy at the bottom of the page when needed and at the end it gave a synopsis of the history of that time.

Not only was it a good adventure story but it was educational too. I would recommend this to any child (or adult)
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VINE VOICEon 18 December 2008
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A surprisingly good adventure story and one that I really enjoyed. Ivor Culldragon transported himself back in time, to the era when the Celts and Romans were around.

There were plenty of adventures to be had, which also seemed to be based on fact (based on my limited knowledge pre-medieval knowledge), with many descriptive texts and annotations describing the terms that were used.

As an adventure story is it good fun, and if you add in the factual knowledge too, it is well worth a read - ages from 10 and up I would suggest.
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