Fen Runners John Gordon Published by Orion ISBN 978 1 84255 684 9 The fen country is a low expanse of coastal wetland in southeast England. The fens are lonely, empty and silent. This is a forbidding and mysterious part of England, full of legend and ancient stories. During rare severe winters, the fens freeze over, and the area is transformed into a strangely beautiful, sometimes dangerous sub-zero wonderland. Out come the skates, and people living in the fens take to the ice for fun, as well as to travel from village to village. John Gordon, a renowned contemporary writer of adult supernatural fiction, takes full advantage of this setting in his shivery novel for teens, Fen Runners. The landscape is still, white mists float up from the frozen marshes, and beneath the ice an age-old creature waits to be released. It has waited in captivity for centuries, but now the time to break out of its prison is drawing near. A while before the present ice and snow froze the water and the land, Kit and Joe found an old ice-skate while swimming under the bridge over a canal. The boys discover the rusty old skate belongs to an old villager who lost it when he fell through the ice more than 50 years ago. Since his accident, old Tom Townsend has been haunted by memories of a creature he saw as he struggled to free himself from the ice. The boys wonder what frightened young Tom as he was trapped under that ice half a century ago. He has suffered from nightmares ever since, and feels something is watching him from under the dark frozen waters. Joe, Kit and Jenny, Tom's granddaughter, find themselves involved an ancient legend of the fens. Armed with a supposed dragon's scale and a mysterious whetstone, the three teenagers put on their skates and head into the heart of the frozen wetlands. Soon they are skating to defeat an ancient curse and save their own lives. Fen Runners is a gripping story that can be devoured in one shivery sitting. Gordon is a stylish and focused writer who doesn't waste a word or miss a trick in telling his unnerving tale. He is a natural storyteller with a special gift for bringing out menace and suspense.