Page 45 Review by Stephen
"What are you doing?! Someone lives there!"
"They don't, though. That's the point. People used to live here. Fishermen and their sons. But one by one, all the houses got bought up by... rich bankers from Surrey. They come here for two weeks in the summer, and the rest of the year it's just empty.
The neighbour's baby boy has been snatched from its cot, she's out searching at night amongst all the posh houses, her older brother's just angrily smashed his way into one of them and is now proceeding to deliver a National Housing Federation report. She's only 11, and she's missing Coronation Street!
From the creators of TAMSIN AND THE DEEP comes the first follow-up which I'd consider a transition piece - preparatory work and the gathering of forces for what lies ahead - if its ominous epilogue is anything to go by.
What lies here is a shift from underwater to underground, for if Cornwall is famous for its rugged rocks and mighty waves, it's equally renowned for its clotted cream teas. Mmmm... Clotted cream teas... No, wait! It's equally renowned for its ancient tin mines where they dug up the ore called cassiterite, as we discover on a school field trip.
"It's a fascinating mineral. This area in particular is known for its pseudomorphs, where the tin actually replaces and takes the shape of another mineral."
Are you paying attention at the back? This is hard science!
It's also a subplot.
Oh, I'm not taking you any further down that route - the props have come loose. You'll have to negotiate that for yourselves; don't take your hardhats off, for it's not the faint- hearted.
Instead I'd point you in the direction of the introductory legend about the chief of the indigenous giants being bested and cast underground, and the tradition of mine workers to give a little back to the land, be it a lump of iron ore or the final portion of their lunchtime pasties (true!). Now, admittedly, little is being removed any longer - except affordable housing for the local population - but nothing's being given back, either, to the Small Folk, the Buccas who looked out for the miners. The natural balance is off-kilter. Babies don't go missing on their own...
I covered TAMSIN AND THE DEEP in depth (you'll find it in Page 45's Phoenix Books Section) so I heartily encourage you to look that way for an exploration of all the neat little devices that Cameron and Brown make much use of, as well as Tamsin Thomas's role as last in the line of Pellars, and wielder of ancient thought-power through the psychic operating interface that is her stick.
She's getting a bit cocky as this kicks off, but there's no one like a big brother to bring you back down to earth.
"He's always "out" these days. What's he doing?"
"He's a teenage boy, Tamsin. So basically, I dread to think."
Morgan is beautifully portrayed. He's getting gangly now, and watching him writhe on the settee in front of a console game, wrestling the controller up and across, then down to the ground with emergency reflexes and zero dignity (while Tamsin keeps herself centred) is hilarious.
What does register as a danger to his dignity is delivering baby clothes next door to young Sharon or doing research for his sister on Small Folk and Fairies. That isn't going to happen - not this time, anyway - but thankfully some families are better than others at the oral tradition of storytelling.
I also love that Morgan desperately needs a haircut in the way that a lot of early teens do, and his face is still slightly shy of full-on adult masculine. It's a bit pudgy, the more chiselled bits very much in the making, and when either sibling gets grumpy or frets you can tell immediately that they are cut from the same genetic cloth.
In Sesame Street terms, this episode is brought to your by the colour purple, but the condition called red eye, when you finally encounter it, will not be a bout of conjunctivitis. Brrr.....