Drake is surprised to find three horsemen of the apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed. He's even more surprised when they insist that he is one of them. They're missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths and they think that Drake is the boy for the job. At first he's reluctant to usher in Armageddon but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?
The 13th Horseman - a tall tales & short stories review
I'll readily put my hands up and say I'm a fan of Barry Hutchison's books, and I'm happy to say The 13th Horseman does not disappoint. It's fun, funny, fantastical yet full of everyday normality we can all relate to. It's a veritable cornucopia of crazy ideas and zany moments and so charmingly and eccentrically British! And all topped off with an impending Armageddon! What's not to like?
I don't get sent enough books to read where I think, 'Oh, boy, I wish I'd had this to read when I was a kid.' Because I think that's what Barry Hutchison achieves so brilliantly - really entertaining, page-turning books for kids (or grown-up kids like me). They're accessible for all kinds of readers, they feel fresh, modern and witty, and for me that's the key, especially in an age of competing with TV, the internet and computer games. Barry does explore some dark ideas but let's face it many kids have an interest or fascination with these subjects, and Barry does it so well and in such a light-hearted and surreal way, that you're scared and laughing in equal measure.
I don't do spoilers because it takes all the fun out of reading the book. Each reader should discover things about the story for themselves, but I will say that the three Horsemen of the Apocalypse are hilarious.
Would I recommend this book? Most definitely!
And I'd also say check out Barry's other books from his Invisible Fiends horror series for 9+ readers. I've read and reviewed two of the books from the series -
You can also read a 2009 tall tales & short stories interview with Barry Hutchison here
And in another post, Barry talks about Writing Horror for Kids