EVERY week in THE MOON we have brilliant news from an established author.
But today we have something a little different. Rennie McOwan’s classic Clan series has been a hit since its first publication in 1982.
The writer passed away in 2018. But parents keen to share the stories they loved with their children requested that they be reissued – and now all four books have been reissued in special illustrated editions. The latest in the series, Jewels on the Move, was released today.
We’ve got a preview, along with a snippet of the story for MOON readers.
The suspenseful story follows the adventures of buddies Gavin, Clare, Michael and Mot as they accidentally travel back in time to Scotland in the 17th century and must fight to save the country’s crown jewels …
There was a rustle and a bang. An arrow shot past Gavin’s head and sank into the thick beams of the castle gate.
He sighed in surprise and bent down without thinking.
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Then came another bang, much louder. . . and a crash. . . as something solid hit the masonry next to the door and shards of stone rained down on his three friends, who were squatting beside him.
“It’s like a cannon ball!” He said incredulously to Clare, Michael and Mot.
“It’s a cannon ball,” Claire retorted in dismay, picking up an iron object the size of a cricket ball that rolled on the flagstones next to the door.
âDon’t be stupid,â his brother Michael said. “Who would have fired a cannon ball at us?” Is anyone playing a joke? ‘ He watched in amazement as the other children huddled under the huge castle walls. “What are we doing here anyway?” “
Word jumped. ‘I know what it is. It is one of those societies which replay old battles. You know! They dress up in old-fashioned costumes, wield wooden swords, and pretend to fight like people once did. Yes, that is what it is. Obviously, they forgot that other people could still be here, or they didn’t realize that we are next to this door.
He paused, sadly surprised, “You know, I don’t remember how we got here, but I’m going to wave at them.” “. . let them know. ‘
Clare also shook her head in astonishment and confusion. âI don’t know how we got here either,â she said, âbut we better give them a sign. . . otherwise there will be an accident.
Then she added in the slightly annoying “I am the leader” voice that she liked to adopt: “Follow me!”
Even in this stressful time, the boys were smiling a little. They were used to Clare being their leader, the leader of their little group, which they called the Clan Alliance.
They were siblings whose last name was Stewart. Gavin, however, was a friend. He was a MacRae on his mother’s side. Gavin had joined them on their first adventure on the hill called Dumyat, near Stirling.
It seemed so long ago, and they had been good friends ever since.
Clare sprang to her feet, followed more cautiously by Gavin, Michael and Mot.
” Do not pull ! ” she screamed. âThere are still a lot of people here!
She was about to add angrily, “What do you think you’re playing!” – when she broke off in astonishment.
A stone path led from the castle gate towards steep benches of grass and heather. This was the only way to enter the castle, which was surrounded on three sides by huge sloping cliffs down to the sea.
The castle was called Dunnottar. It was an imposing, massive and sinister fortress that had once been a stronghold of great families like the Keith, who held it in the name of the Scottish monarchs.
Clare rubbed her eyes in utter surprise and let out a small gasp. Instead of the grassy slopes and winding path they had taken that morning from the parking lot, there was a brae covered in rough grass and heather.
At the top of the slope, a large group of men had gathered, some wearing armored caps or breastplates, others with flat caps and pikes. Most also had swords. Before them stood a row of cannons.
Other men stood with muskets perched on long supports or supports that looked like forked sticks. A thought crossed his mind. They didn’t look like a society replaying old battles. No, they looked real. Very real. But they couldn’t be, she thought.
Clare had just started waving her hand again, urging the boys to do the same, when puffs of smoke rose from where the men stood with the muskets. These were followed by a series of deafening explosions from the cannon line.
She just had time to shout “Come down!” The Clan, always on the alert for emergencies, instantly collapsed beside her as a volley of muskets and cannonballs hit the castle walls and the wooden gate.
There was a strong smell of smoke and the sound of thudding and crashing noises as bullets sent shrapnel flying from the door and walls. Adding to the confusion, a volley of arrows whistled above and bounced off the castle ramparts. Two of them fell near the children and one landed near Gavin’s head.
He reached out and examined it as a scientist might look at a new and strange insect. (Gavin loved to collect pieces of historical and natural lore, and often wrote notes in a small notebook he always carried.)
âHmm,â he said. âI think these arrows are designed to pierce armor. They have a different shank and beard tip from other arrows. . . I saw this in a museum once.
Clare looked at him with a strained expression on her face. âVery interesting,â she said sarcastically, âbut that’s not going to get us out of this hole. Who are these men and why are they shooting at us? What the hell is happening ? “
Jewels on the Move, by Rowan Tree Publishing, is out today in all the good shops.
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