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The Adventures of Leonora Dedlock
A rollicking, frolicking, madcap fantasy adventure for 9-13 year-olds and Harry Potter fans everywhere!
Leonora Dedlock is just like any other 12 year-old girl. Except that she isn’t really at all. Her hair turns white whenever danger is near, mounted stag heads start talking to her out of the blue, and she appears to have adopted the quite frankly uncanny ability to conjure forth lightning bolts from her bare hands. But that’s just the start of it.
Because, once she falls out the back of the Broom Closet of Unimaginable Horrors (having been deposited there by the horribly wobbly Primula Grunt), she finds herself in a most peculiar world indeed; an Ooniverse of talking cloaks and ninja sausage dogs... of homicidal faceless entertainers and spaceships that look almost exactly like coffee mugs... of magic and madness and the never-ending battle between good and evil.
On the side of good, Doctor Falocta, Lord Lovelight and the Council of Moonbeams. On the side of not-so-good, Lord Hideous Vile – runner-up in the ‘Most Evil Man Around’ competition for four years in a row and head of N.A.S.T.Y. (the National Association for the Sponsorship and Training of Yobs).
The one thing they covet above all else: the ancient (probably) and illusive (almost definitely) Hedgehog of Emeralds; a gem-encrusted artefact of such power, that whoever wields it will bring either peace and joy, or misery and never-ending bunions to the galaxy entire.
On an uncertain quest to recover the Hedgehog (in a plot which has almost absolutely nothing to do with The Fellowship of the Ring in any way, shape or indeed form) go Leonora, The Doctor, Major Mooja (representing the ooman beens) and Leonard Smith, proud and steadfast leader of the sausage dogs of Woof.
Awaiting them are the most terrible Awfuls of Tullomama, a renegade space pirate by the name of Perspicacity Crank, and a fight to (near the) finish on Woof itself; where Leonora will reveal a destiny that would make anyone (least of all a 12 year-old) exclaim “Crikey O’Reilly!”
“Are you a soldier?” asked Leonora.
The tall man with the sunglasses that weren’t sunglasses stared down at her.
“Jeez,” he said out of the corner of his mouth, “for the saviour of the entire Ooniverse, you ain’t too bright, are ya?!”
Leonora did not reply – she was trying to work out if she should be feeling offended or not.
“Just because this may be a military uniform, don’t necessarily mean I’m in the military!” said the man quickly.
He opened a pocket in the front of his tunic and took out a piece of gum, which he proceeded to toss into his mouth in a most ungainly manner.
“Allow me ta introduce myself,” he said, smiling through gritted teeth and throwing out a black-gloved hand, “Captain Perspicacity Crank, 442 Reconnaissance and Support Division, Ooman Inter-Ooniverse Military Starfleet – retired.”
“Absent without official leave and still officially wanted by Military High Command” interrupted the Major, “pending trial for requisitioning a Class T spacecraft!”
Perspicacity Crank smiled and slowly shook his head.
“Come on, Mooja!” he said innocently, working the gum around his mouth, “you know I had no option but ta do what I did! They were gonna take this old crate away from me and melt her down – turn her into toilet seats! What self-respectin’ Captain’s gonna sit back and watch that happen?!”
“One who follows the rules and obeys orders!” replied the Major, buttoning up his rather tattered tunic. “No one asked you to go on the run! Your situation is entirely one of your own making!”
“Ya say that like it’s a bad thing, Mooja!” smiled Captain Crank, “but ta be honest, it was the best thing that ever happened to me! Gettin’ out of the army, flying around, workin’ fer myself...”
“Working against the law!” interrupted the Major again, “transporting stolen and contraband goods around the Ooniverse along with all your space pirate friends!”
“Hey!” This time it was Captain Crank’s turn to interrupt. “If it wasn’t fer this old space pirate here ‘disobeying orders,’ you and tha kid would’ve been in pretty hot water on that dustbowl down there! From where I was sittin’, it didn’t look like old Falocta’s plan was workin’ too well! Me and The Mug got you guys out of that – you better not forget it!”
Leonora blinked several times in quick succession, as things were suddenly becoming, if not clear exactly, then clearer.
“Did you rescue us, Captain Crank?” she asked, patting Loonard on the head (the mention of the Doctor had made him sob again).
“You bet I did, kiddo!” smiled The Captain, walking over to where Leonora stood and patting her on the head. “And hey – call me Perspicacity... all my friends do!”
Now it was Leonora’s turn to smile; whatever The Major’s misgivings about this fellow, she liked him. Not only had he saved her – and her friends – from The Awfuls, but he apparently had a spaceship too!
“Thank you!” said Leonora, “thank you, Captain Crank. I mean, Perspicacity!”