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ELEPHANT MOON by [Sweeney, John]
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ELEPHANT MOON Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,393 customer reviews

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Length: 232 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Review

'If you were to relocate Michael Morpurgo's War Horse to Burma in the Second World War, with elephants taking the sentimental role from the horses, you might end up with something like Elephant Moon by John Sweeney. It is a tender and loving tribute to 'Nature's great masterpiece... The only harmless great thing', as John Donne described the elephant, as well as an insight into one of the forgotten battlegrounds of the war.' --LIterary Review

'This novel is based on a little-known true story of the Second World War when a herd of 53 elephants was used by a young English schoolteacher to rescue a band of orphans in Burma and transport them to the safety of India. Their incredible journey is filled with adventure, tragedy and love, as you might expect. But, most thrilling of all is the emergence of the elephants as real characters with distinct personalities. This is not done in a sentimental Jungle Book kind of way. Rather, it is true to Darwin's description of these creatures as being possessed of many of the same senses as humans, including the capacity for jealousy, suspicion and revenge. The author - who is also an award-winning Panorama reporter - takes advantage of this phenomenon and scores a bull's-eye with an excellent and ingenious plot.' --Daily Mail

'A deftly realised on-the-road novel alive with the horrors of war.' --Yorkshire Evening Post

'This novel is based on a little-known true story of the Second World War when a herd of 53 elephants was used by a young English schoolteacher to rescue a band of orphans in Burma and transport them to the safety of India. Their incredible journey is filled with adventure, tragedy and love, as you might expect. But, most thrilling of all is the emergence of the elephants as real characters with distinct personalities. This is not done in a sentimental Jungle Book kind of way. Rather, it is true to Darwin's description of these creatures as being possessed of many of the same senses as humans, including the capacity for jealousy, suspicion and revenge. The author - who is also an award-winning Panorama reporter - takes advantage of this phenomenon and scores a bull's-eye with an excellent and ingenious plot.' --Daily Mail

'A deftly realised on-the-road novel alive with the horrors of war.' --Yorkshire Evening Post

About the Author

John Sweeney is a reporter for BBC Panorama. He has won many journalism awards and is the author of five previous books. Elephant Moon is his first novel.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 425 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1909269107
  • Publisher: Silvertail Books (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C2UORQ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 1,393 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,646 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a story which engages the heart at many turns of the tale. A young British schoolmarm escapes from Burma during WWII with her orphan charges, unwanted girls who are the unwanted results of illicit Burmese and British relationships. On the danger-fraught journey to India she encounters courage, betrayal, and love However, the real protagonists of the story are the elephants who demonstrate intelligence, courage and parental love. For me this made the story special as these magnificent animals are being killed at unprecedented rates by ivory poachers. I hope everyone who reads this story will fall in love with the elephants and vow to work in some small way for elephant conservation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was honestly surprised by how gripped I was by this enthralling story set in Burma during World War II. I knew the author to be a distinguished journalist who has worked in some very dangerous locations and a witty and compassionate writer on many topics but he has drawn on all that experience to create a well researched and highly readable story made all the more harrowing and moving by being based on real events. I found myself caring about the fate of the characters [ including the elephants] and read the book quickly, anxious to find out their fate.

At the end of the book I found myself wanting to know more about the events on which it was based and wondering about the right actress to play Grace , the attractive [ although occasionally infuriating] heroine when the book is turned into a film , as surely it must.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sadly I could not finish this book - got 2/3 the way through and rather regret the time I spent reading as far as that. There's a good story in there somewhere, and someone else might have written a masterpiece but not this author. I thought the prose was ghastly and the characters one-dimensional. Very poor.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What a ripping good yarn!. This was a really enjoyable read and I got so caught up in it I missed my station. Great to have a female protagonist who is resilient but beievable. The elephants are enchanting characters and you got the impression the author really cared about them. The characters back storys are interesting and for me educational as they provide an opportunity for the author to fill us in on the actual history of the time leaving me wanting to learn more. The story is vividly told, I was in that jungle. It would make a great film and I hope someone has the sense to make it into one. The truth at the heart of it desrves to be heard and the author has done a great job in the telling.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a marvellous book! And oh how I loved Grace. This story would make a brilliant film. I too would love to know more about the real history behind this tale and the research and commitment to telling it has paid off. I highly recommend this novel and I look forward to John Sweeney's next.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the story of the evacuation of Anglo-Burmese orphans from Bishop Strachan’s school in Burma in 1942. Caught up in the Japanese invasion they are denied passage out, partly because of their birthright and partly because the retreating Colonials took priority. A young teacher, Grace Collins, unable to leave her pupils, finds them passage on an old bus driven by a loyal servant and they head for India. When the bus fails, there seems little hope – enter Sam, a resourceful teak plantation owner and his fifty-three elephants.

The book starts well and whilst it is a writer’s gift, John Sweeney is a journalist and he writes like one. Well-plotted but with no heart, there are some good descriptions but the dialogue is so clunky I found it difficult to believe in the characters. Miss Furroughs was so inconsistent that I became irritated. Mr Peach, a believable character when sober, would not, in his drunken state, have spoken to Grace as he did – and if he had, she would more than likely have slapped him. And, I’m sorry, but Sam appeared like a caricature from a third rate British war film – his elephants Disneyesque.
The people of that era simply didn’t speak in the way JW depicts and I speak from experience. Many of those fleeing the Japanese, both military and civilian, were forced to endure sights and perform actions that were degrading and dehumanising and, whilst it cannot be denied that some of them did despise the natives, JW’s assertion that many of the retreating Allies were a bunch of racist cowards with little conscience does them a great disservice. No matter what JS’s personal opinion (and it had no place in this book) a conquering army is rarely popular but, by and large, Britain did more than is often credited for India.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Firstly, I should declare my interest: I share a publisher with John Sweeney. However, I wouldn't review this book positively unless I felt it was really worthy of such a review. Elephant Moon is a pacy story and a great read. I particularly enjoyed the feisty character of Grace and the bumbling ways of Mr Peach. Sweeney has managed to inject plenty of humour into the novel despite the fact that the true events it is based on were very serious indeed - making this fast-moving adventure a lot of fun.
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By Frances Stott TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel (based on a true story) tells of the journey of a young English schoolteacher, Grace, who undertakes to escort the sixty-three half-caste orphans (the products of the illicit couplings of Western soldiers and Burmese or Indian girls) from Burma during WW2. The children are low priority, because of who they are, and Grace receives little help. However, she finally encounters some soldiers who are undertakiing the same journey, but with the help of elephants, and after some persuasion, they agree to escort Grace and her charges. Pursued by the Japanese, who are always close behind, the party encounter all kinds of hazards - both natural and otherwise - in what turns out to be a perilous and at times life-threatening journey.

The story is undoubtedly gripping (hence the four stars), and the courage and intelligence of the elephants at times heart-breaking (they are the true heroes of the novel). But I do have reservations. Firstly, the novel is somewhat unbalanced. In several places, too much space is given to flashbacks which are not really essential to the plot. And I really do wonder whether a nice English girl would (at that time) have fallen so easily in love and had sexual relations; and this with two separate men in surprisingly short order. Also, the novel's ending is wrapped up very quickly and neatly, and I felt this could have been managed better.

However - I have to recommend this novel, as I found it gripping and very readable.
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