Children's Zizou Corder Lionboy: The Chase

ISBN 13: 9780803729841

Lionboy: The Chase

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9780803729841: Lionboy: The Chase

Charlie and his lion friends have made it safely to Venice, but it turns out that their journey has only just begun. King Boris's palace was meant to be a haven, but it's starting to feel more like a prison. When word arrives from the cat grapevine that his parents are not being held in Italy after all, Charlie knows he must take fast action. Luckily a new ally has come on the scene--and just in the knick of time: Rafi is in hot pursuit.

This second book in the Lionboy trilogy is even more action-packed than the first, offering clever escapes, shipwreck, a prehistoric beast named Primo who will prove himself a great hero, and surprises that will shock and delight. It's an exhilarating, suspenseful whirlwind of a story, and readers will be clamoring for more.

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About the Author:

ZIZOU CORDER is the pen name for a mother-daughter team of authors. Louisa Young grew up in London and studied history at Cambridge. She has written another trilogy for adults featuring a belly-dancing, motorcycle-riding single mom (Baby Love, Desiring Cairo, and Tree of Pearls), as well as a non-fiction book, The Book of the Heart.

Her ten-year-old daughter, Isabel Adomakoh Young contributed plot and character details, some of which mirror her own life—like Charlie, the hero of Lionboy Isabel is the child of an English woman and an African man and, also like Charlie, she suffers asthma.

The pen name Zizou Corder comes from Isabel's pet lizard, Zizu. They all live together in London.

Originally from Wiltshire, England, award-winning narrator SIMON JONES is perhaps most often recognized as ‘Arthur Dent’ in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (both radio and TV versions) or as ‘Bridey’ in the classic TV mini-series “Brideshead Revisited”.

He has been seen in such films as Privates in Parade, Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Miracle on 34th Street (remake), and Devil’s Own; most recently on TV as a judge in OZ and as ‘C.S. Lewis’ in PBS’s A Question of God; and regularly on stage, including 10 major roles on Broadway. In 2004 his audio book narrations won him AudioFile magazine's "Golden Voice" award, and Publisher’s Weekly "Narrator of the Year."

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It is a curious thing for a boy to be stuck on a train in an Alpine snowstorm, in a bathroom with six homesick lions and a huge unidentified saber–toothed creature. More curious still to know that bustling around next door in his purple silk dressing gown is a friendly Bulgarian king called Boris, and his security chief, name of Edward, who makes a point of knowing everything there is to know, and perhaps a little more.

If you were a boy whose parents—clever scientists—had been stolen by a villainous lad from your neighborhood in London, on behalf of you’re not sure whom, but almost certainly because they have invented a cure for asthma, you might be happy to think that these lions and this king were on your side. If you and the lions had run away from a floating circus and a nasty, mysterious lion trainer, you might take the chance to relax for a moment, knowing that neither he, nor the villainous lad—who has anyway been savaged by one of the lions— could make it through the snow to get you.

If the oldest lion said to you: “We are warm and dry, and we have eaten, and we are together. Someone else is going to mend the train that will roar us through this mysterious dangerous weather to the place where your parents are, closer to our home. But now—now we are safe.” If he said that , you might feel warm and cheered up and happy.

This is exactly how Charlie Ashanti felt. Charlie felt as close to safe as he had felt in weeks. The beautiful lions were lying in a pile around him: the three lionesses resting after their chase; the oldest lion calmly triumphant at their escape, Elsina the young girl lion still weak from their adventures on the train’s roof but so excited to be out in the real world; and the young lion, Charlie’s friend, fast asleep with his head in Charlie’s lap. Next door was King Boris in his glamorous carriage, promising help when they reached Venice. Rafi Sadler and Maccomo the lion trainer were safely stuck in Paris, and the snow was covering the train like a huge snuggly quilt.

Now, Charlie said to himself, is the time to sleep and eat and relax, so we will be fit and strong for the troubles ahead. Because without a doubt, there were going to be troubles ahead.

Charlie’s parents, Dr. Aneba Ashanti and Professor Magdalen Start, were in big trouble already. You wouldn’t necessarily think it, to see them sitting at opposite ends of the social club in the Corporacy Gated Village Community. The Club Room was long and low and comfortable, with a glass wall looking out over a beautiful subtropical garden, full of palm trees and huge rounded rocks with a stream trickling over them. At least—Magdalen had thought it was beautiful, until she noticed that every rock was the same shape exactly, and made of some kind of plastic. She peered carefully at the trees. Were they fake too?

She was sitting with a group of women, all talking about how fat they were. They had dishes of chips and glasses of wine in front of them. “Oh no, I shouldn’t,” they cried, as they stuffed their faces with food that was bad for them. A lot of them were smoking too. “You’ll get wrinkles from smoking,” said one.

“Clare’s got fabulous skin,” said another. “Don’t you hate her?”

Magdalen wondered why you should hate somebody just because she has pretty skin. She wondered why these women were worried about getting wrinkles from smoking but not about cancer. She wondered why they could only talk about how fat they were, when they weren’t particularly fat anyway, and if they were really worried about it, why didn’t they stop drinking and eating the chips? And if they wanted to eat chips and drink wine, why did they keep telling themselves off for doing so? Why not just enjoy it?

She felt very tired. She couldn’t quite remember how they got here, to tell the truth—Rafi Sadler tricking her and Aneba had faded from her mind somehow, and so had the long journey to this place by submarine and boat and truck. She didn’t think they’d been here very long. She knew she didn’t like it. She wanted to be left alone, to not listen to this rubbish. She wanted to see her son and be with her husband and get some work done. Her brain was turning to mushy gunk here. She knew she was meant to be somewhere else, leading a different life. She felt very tired. I just thought that, she thought. What’s wrong with me?

Looking up, she caught a glimpse of Aneba across the room. He didn’t look very well. His skin, normally gleaming black, had an ashy tinge to it. The whites of his eyes were a little yellow. His big muscular shoulders, normally so broad and straight, seemed to have sagged.

“You’ve put on a bit of weight yourself, haven’t you?” said one of the women to Magdalen.

At the other end of the room, Aneba was watching soccer on television with a group of men. Aneba liked soccer, but this was the fourth match in a row. The men were complaining about how bad the players were, and the managers, and the referee, and the linesmen. They were drinking beer and eating peanuts and saying they could do much better themselves. Under the smell of cigarette smoke there was another flavor in the air. He half recognized it. Didn’t like it.

After one of the matches, the news had come on. The Empire soldiers had had to shoot up a city in the Poor World, and lots of civilians had been shot and there were no medicines available. There were pictures of children with dirty bandages on, looking terrified and hungry. The men looked up briefly, and said: “That’s terrible,” then went back to complaining. “Nothing you can do, though, is there?” said one. Aneba could see that the man felt bad, and liked him for it.

“Never mind, mate,” said a second man. “Have another beer.” Aneba knew there was something else he ought to be doing, but he couldn’t really remember what.

Looking up, he saw Magdalen on the other side of the room. She didn’t look very well. Her red hair wasn’t curly and chaotic as usual. It had gone flat.

Soon they’d be due back at the Wellness Unit for their Motivational Management Therapy.

“Cheer up, mate,” said one of the men. “Have a drink.”

Aneba tried hard to remember what he was normally like.

If Charlie had seen his energetic, intelligent parents like this, he would have revised his opinion that they were not in any immediate danger. He would have been shocked.

Trouble had already announced itself at Thibaudet’s Royal Floating Circus and Equestrian Philharmonic Academy (also known as Tib’s Gallimaufry or the Show). Major Maurice Thibaudet (pronounced Tib–oh–day), the Boss, Ringmaster and Maestro of the Circus, had been lounging in his cabin on board the giant circus–ship Circe, wearing a pale green robe that matched the carved paneling, and drinking a glass of brandy and soda. The Show’s opening night in Paris had been fabulous, and everybody had said so. Major Tib and most of the circusguys had stayed up late afterward, drinking and congratulating themselves. The others were all still in bed with hangovers (except for Pirouette the Flying Trapeze Artiste, and the Lucidi family of acrobats, who always got up early to practice, no matter what). Major Tib himself was too tough for hangovers, but even so, he didn’t really expect to be entertaining visitors at such a moment. His visitor, a gentlemen from the French Railway, was a little embarrassed.

Major Tib smiled a pale, elegant smile and took a sip of his brandy.

“The lions!” he drawled in his lazy southern Empire voice. “What do you mean? Ain’t no problem with our lions. Mighty early in the morning to come round complainin’ about something that ain’t a problem, don’t ya think?”

“Monsieur,” said the visitor delicately. “Last night a very peculiar tale emerged. There was an English boy trying to stop the Orient Express from leaving the station. He was very wet and crazy and saying there were lions in the train, stolen runaway lions and a young thief who has stolen them. He said that one of the lions has attacked him, and that the lions are from your circus, and somebody throw him in the Canal St. Martin down by Bastille....Obviously this is nonsense and he is very crazy, so we send him to the secure hospital. But in the dawn the hospital calls me and says this boy has serious hurts on his arm and shoulder like some big thing is bitten him. Big thing. No mosquito, you know. The boy is bloody and angry and wet and crazy, but yes, he has this big bite on him, and the hospital says well it could be lion bite, most likely dog or something and maybe he get rabies and that’s why he so crazy, but you know... the boy said the lions are from here, belonging to your famous trainer Monsieur Maccomo. So I have to check. I am sorry. You understand.”

“You’re saying I’ve let crazy lions with rabies escape from my circus and bite people?” said Major Tib. “That what you’re sayin’? You better be sure, Monsieur, because that’s pretty serious.”

“I say let’s go to check the lions.”

“Sure,” said Major Tib. He leaped to his feet, his robe flashing out behind him. He was very tall and thin, and crossed the cabin in a second to fling open the door. “Come on!” he said, with a grin.

Major Tib strode across the deck, the Railway gentleman scurrying along behind him. “Morning, Sigi!” he cried to the father of the Lucidis, upside down in the rigging between the Big Top and the smokestacks. “Seen Maccomo this morning?”

“No, Major Tib,” Sigi called back. “Not last night neither.”

The lioncabin was on the sa...

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