on 25 July 2016
I do have an Armada version, but it isn't the one shown here. Never mind. This is the seventh book in the Adventure Series, with Philip, Dinah, Lucy Ann, Jack, and the parrot Kiki. Mrs Mannering is now married to Bill, and is now known as Mrs Cunningham. Philip and Dinah are brother and sister, while Jack and Lucy Ann Trent have settled in with Philip and Dinah.
In this book, Mrs Cunningham prepares to take the children and Bill on holiday to a place called Little Brockleton. At the last moment, Bill phones, and they are forced to take "Gustivus Barmelivo" a very awkward and difficult foreign little boy with them. He is awkward, difficult and doesn't get on with the children at all. He becomes known as "Gussy". After a heated argument over the length of his hair, Gussy accidently lets slip that he is in fact, Aloysoius, a Prince of Tauri-Hessia! Bill and Mrs Cunningham, (who already knew) come clean, and explain to the children that there is a plot in Tauri-Hessia to put Gussy on the throne in Tauri-Hessia, whilst deposing his uncle (his only relative) who is King of Tauri-Hessia!
One the situation comes out, the whole situation comes to the fore, and Gussy is guarded. However Gussy sees a man and woman hanging around at a local farm, who then visit the farmhouse where the family are staying. The guard is even more intense.
One night, Jack goes out bird watching, leaving everyone in the house, including Bill and Mrs Cunningham. Bill and Mrs Cunningham are tricked by a knock on the door which claims to be from the local farm. Bill and Mrs Cunningham set off for the farm, but are tied up and thrown into bushes. The kidnappers find Philip, Dinah, Lucy Ann, and Gussy, and take them away in a car. Philip realises that Jack is still out bird-watching, and yells as he and everyone else is taken away. This alerts Jack and Kiki, and Jack manages to get in the boot of the car, and travel with the children,, although nobody knew this. When the car stops, the children are transferred to an aeroplane, and Jack and Kiki seize their chance, and Jack and Kiki fly in the back of the plane to Tauri-Hessia!
The children are then transferred from the aeroplane to a car, and again, no one sees Jack and Kiki, Eventually, Jack escapes from the plane, and eventually finds a circus, which is on the way to Borken which has a castle. He gets on with the circus folk, mainly because of Kiki, and finally gets to Borken Castle. He becomes friends with Pedro, (a circus boy), and eventually tells him the whole story. Jack and Pedro find out that the rest of the party are being held in the castle. Pedro tells acrobats (Toni and Bingo) who manage to rescue them all by ingenious means. Pedro meanwhile has arranged for Gussy to be dressed up as a girl by Ma in the circus, and this is done! Just after the rescue of the prisoners, the bells start to ring, and the King of Tauri-Hessia disappears.
In the meantime, Philip, Lucy Ann and Dinah get involved with the circus, and wear Tauri-Hessian clothes. Philip's status amongst the circus folk elevates when he saves Fank's bears (Fank is another circus performer) from being shot, as Fank falls ill, After leaving Borken they are stopped by soldiers looking for the Prince, but they are unsuccessful!
Whilst in Tauri Hessia, a strange pedlar recognises Kiki and Jack. It is of course, Bill, who after being untied, managed to get hold of his colleague, who both flew to Tauri-Hessia, The whole story is soon known to Bill,and Philip, Lucy Anna, Dinah Jack, Pedro Toni and Bingo show Bill and his colleague how to get into Borken Castle.
This is done, and Bill manages to find Gussy's uncle, the King of Tauri-Hessia. The plot is overthrown, and the King goes back on the throne. "Gussy" sees his uncle, and asks for permission to get his hair cut. His uncle agrees. The children also stay with Gussy and his uncle!
Footnote. In my version, there is a short note from Enid Blyton herself, who explained that she meant "The Ship of Adventure" to be the last book in the Adventure series. Due to pressure from her fans, she gave in, and wrote "The Circus of Adventure"!