Run For The Trees is an adventure of sabotage, intrigue, self-reliance and courage, which takes the reader from Wellington (the capital city of New Zealand) to the South Island’s West Coast and back again.
While his mother holidays with her new man, thirteen year old Ben and his eco-protester uncle, Rick, must save the native forest from exploitation at the hands of corrupt politicians.
The themes of overcoming a disability and promoting conservation are the cornerstones of the book.
Thirteen-year-old Ben Costas finds himself alone when his mother goes on holiday with the ‘axe-murderer’ and his uncle, an eccentric eco-protester, disappears.
Add to the mix a bossy runaway called Ange, two tenacious thugs, and a geriatric ‘greenie’. Ben’s struggles to reunite with Uncle Rick at an anti-logging protest culminate in a scary race to expose political corruption and save the native forest from exploitation.
Ben galloped along the veranda and through the open door. “Uncle Ri…” The name stalled in his throat.
Not even Uncle Rick was this messy. It looked as though someone had picked up the entire house and tipped it upside down--shaking loose every drawer and disturbing all of Uncle Rick’s ‘tidy piles’ of paper. The only noise was the whirr of the computer fan, where the screen saver patiently scrolled HANG UP THE PHONE RICK--THERE’S WORK TO DO! They’d laughed like crazy when Ben had helped install that message. Now the silent words seemed creepy, not funny at all.
Ben dropped his backpack. He wiped his sleeve across the cold sweat on his top lip. “Uncle Rick--it’s me--Ben. Are you here?” His voice, squeaky at the best of times, shrilled nervously into the echoing house. He waded through the choppy sea of books and papers, calling again. Searching. Knowing he had to look, but terrified he would find Uncle Rick hanging like those two poor pigeons. Or maybe something even worse.
The nagging whirr of the computer followed him like a ghostly presence, from one empty room to the next. Uncle Rick wasn’t here. Okay, keep calm. He’d ring Mum at...But then he remembered. Mum had gone--and even if her plane hadn’t taken off yet, he knew he couldn’t call her back.
Uncle Rick had spent a whole month persuading her to go on holiday and leave Ben with him. And the harder Uncle Rick argued, the more awful it’d been. For the first time in his life, Ben felt as if his being born had ruined Mum’s chance for something better. Without him, she might’ve finished her Law degree back when she first started, and been free to holiday with whoever, and whenever, she chose. To borrow from one of his headmaster’s ‘sermons’: hell would have to freeze over before he rang Mum in Fiji.
The last room Ben came to was the bathroom, and he dreaded this the most. Every horror movie he’d ever seen had a body in the bathroom. He pushed open the door, which creaked like a lousy script. This room, too, was empty. Ben felt hysterical laughter bubbling up from his throat. “Ha!” He leapt into the room, aiming his imaginary machine-gun into the shower stall. “Rat-a-tat-ta-rat-a-tat” Filling the air with bullets of relief.
He reached out to steady himself against the basin, but his jellified knees plonked him foolishly onto the toilet. Head in hands, tears of shock fell freely--dripping down between his shaking legs into the water below. Thank God no one was here to see him like this.
But even as he thought it, the reality of the words--the finality--sunk to the pit of his stomach. No one was here.