Set in Majorca and Edinburgh, with an English brother (Steve) and sister (Becky) befriending a Majorcan girl (Maria) when they holiday in the old fishing village of Puerto Pollensa, Majorca. Steve and Maria chance upon a diamond smuggling gang while looking at some rare black vultures on the cliffs, and they're tied up in an island cave and left to drown. They escape and help Maria's brother, who's in the police, track the criminals down. Later, the smuggler's ringleader, connected with international criminals, escapes. When Steve and Becky hear that Maria is coming to Edinburgh on an archaeological dig with her school, in the Penicuik area, they persuade their parents to take an early spring holiday in Edinburgh, where they can do some safer birdwatching - and the rest of the criminals, who get their diamonds cut and polished in Scotland, come after them.
There aren't many realistic adventure stories for this age group - most are just fantasy genre: this one's exciting because it is realistic and the criminals come after the youngsters while they're on holiday with their parents, which is pretty scary. It is also quite humorous. All the criminals eventually get their come-uppance.
The children’s book SMUGGLED DIAMONDS written by Julia Hands (Cambs B.A.Hons) is an exciting, fast-moving illustrated adventure story suitable for both boys and girls. It holds the young reader through a perfectly balanced mixture of detail and action, in a plot both gripping and convincing. The occasionally gently challenging style also makes for a very rewarding book and ideal for teaching or furthering the English language.
I found Smuggled Diamonds quite compelling reading. Even to the point of not being able to put it down! A great deal of research has obviously gone into the book and it is full of beautiful descriptive text – describing both the areas and wildlife around Majorca and the Forth of Firth. The author manages to maintain the excitement of the story and involvement of the characters (particularly the children) throughout the book. I think it is very well written and would certainly appeal to top Primary and lower Secondary school children. A gripping novel.
I am now loaning the book to our year six teacher at school who is hoping to use it to read to the class over the next few weeks or indeed loan it to the better readers to ask their opinion of it. I will let you know if she manages to get it done and the children's opinions of it.
Jan – Deputy Head Teacher - Canterbury Kent.
Amazon Customer Review *****
SMUGGLED DIAMONDS (Paperback)
This is a fast moving, modern adventure story, which incorporates some lovely, descriptive writing - Julia Hands certainly knows how to set a scene! She also cleverly includes some interesting educational material to enhance the plot. I would think that this is best suited for 10 -14 year olds.
5.0 out of 5 starsAction Packed!, 2 April 2014
Nominee for 2014 Costa Children’s Literary Awards
Julia Hands (Cambs B.A.Hons) was born in Solihull, Warwickshire, growing up in Somerset and Warwickshire. She has a degree in English Literature having studied at Cambridge University. She's worked in various office jobs as a secretary and freelanced as an editor. She has worked for charity and enjoyed teaching in Adult Education while also writing for children. Inspiration has come from travelling in Europe and living in London and now pens her craft from her home in Shaldon Nr. Teignmouth Devon.