Annemarie Allan's debut novel is the worthy winner of the 2007 Kelpies Prize. In common with pervious Kelpies the story has a distinctly Scottish setting.
The story opens at a research laboratory where scientists are experimenting with the hox gene. While his father is in a meeting, twelve year-old Robbie visits the lab's animal house where he comes face to face with a huge wild cat called Baldur - and discovers they share a strange telepathic bond, able to sense each other's thoughts. Realising that Baldur is desperate for freedom, Robbie plans to release the lynx and its mate, then guide them to the safety of the highlands. What follows is a perilous chase through a harsh wintry landscape, with danger only a whisker behind them - and the mysterious truth about his links with the lynx always a tantalizing footstep or two ahead.
HOX combines contemporary science, action adventure, and a wonderfully atmospheric setting ... delivered at a breathless pace that makes it utterly unputdownable. Fantastic!
Hox is a cracking adventure, suspenseful, intriguing, fast paced and full of mystery. It has a contemporary theme: genetic research, combined with the sort of adventure story that is timeless. Stong characters, vivid scenery and a mystical element.
What I loved was the originality and I am sure anyone who buys this book will feel that they have made an excellent choice.
This book is very well deserving of the Floris prize and I hope it is the first of many from the author: Annemarie Allan
If you were looking for a thrilling, thought provoking, page-turning adventure with a real scottish flavour you would expect a Kelpies prize winner to fit the bill. You won't be disappointed with this year's winner. Anne marie Allen has packed all this and more into her first novel, Hox. I can't wait to read more of this exciting new author.