Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief
A.F. Steadman
Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Thirteen year old Skandar Smith, a modest boy, longs to become a unicorn rider. This would allow him to get away from his grieving father and school bullies; indeed so his dad tells him, his now dead mother once promised him a unicorn.

Forget any previous unicorn notions you might have: the unicorns in this story are either bloodthirsty and wild or, hatched by specially called 13 year olds and then joined together with a magical elemental bond either air, earth, fire or water. Skandar has always yearned to hatch and then bond to a unicorn and now it’s just weeks away from the Hatchery exam that could offer him the opportunity to do just that. c

However on the day of testing, his hopes are dashed when inexplicably, he’s told he cannot take the exam. Back at home in bed that same night, there’s a knock on the door. It’s a woman come to take Skandar secretly to the island Hatchery so he can try to open the door behind which are the unicorn eggs. With barely time for his sister to wrap their mother’s special black scarf around Skandar’s neck and a quick ‘Be better” farewell to his Dad, the boy and woman are off aback a white unicorn. This woman – Agatha – also warns Skandar about an evil being, the Weaver.

Tension builds as Skandar endeavours to work out the Weaver’s plan; he’s troubled when the group of children who see his unicorn hatchling, notice the mark of the deadly forbidden fifth spirit element, which is wielded by the Weaver. Now Skandar must learn to trust his new group, all of whom must keep his dangerous secret.

Prepare yourself for enormous challenges, shocks and betrayal in this gripping, suspenseful story that will keep you on the edge of your seat right to the very end of Annabel Steadman’s terrific debut novel.

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