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The Lost Child's Quest

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The start of a new children’s fiction series steeped in history, mystery, magic and adventure.

193 pages, ebook

Published December 4, 2020

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About the author

James Haddell

2 books3 followers
James has always loved stories and adventure. He spent most of his childhood in Kent reading and daydreaming then went to university in Durham. Four months volunteering for a Thai charity for children with disabilities in Bangkok after university changed everything.

He trained as a Primary school teacher, working in schools in London, before getting married and moving back to Thailand for seven years. After adopting two children and beginning writing The Tales of Truth Treasure, he returned to the UK and worked in Primary school and nursery setting as a teacher and Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-Ordinator.

James now lives in Somerset with his wife and three children, where he spends his time writing, teaching and being a dad and husband… though he still finds time to do a little reading and daydreaming now and then.

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews
Profile Image for (Ellie) ReadtoRamble.
387 reviews24 followers
January 1, 2021

I read this book as an author request, so thank you so much to the author for asking me to review this book, and thank you so much for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Lost Child’s Quest by James Haddell is the first book in a new children’s/middle grade fantasy series in which we meet Tia, the brave and daring protagonist of this wonderful story. We first meet Tia at a children’s home. She was abandoned as a baby, and the only thing she has from her parents (supposedly) is a little bag of trinkets and a pendant. I can’t say too much about the plot at this point, but she gets adopted by Mr and Mrs Trevelyan and they all go to live in Stormhaven Castle!

This book is based in Stormhaven Castle, a beautiful, ancient castle that you have to drive through to get to the island where Tia’s new home is. I won’t spoil the setting because it’s wonderful to learn all about as you read it, but I felt like I was there the whole time. I loved that this book centred on a castle and was really based in lore, stories and such amazing myths.
The school that Tia goes to is so unique and I would have absolutely adored going to a school like this one. I dearly hope one truly exists in the world because the children that go to it are so lucky and will spend some wonderful years there. Schools should all strive to be more fun and I think this is a wonderful example to follow.

Overall, this was an intriguing, lovely and important book that I loved every minute of and I’m sure I would have read it in one sitting had it not been for my many assignments. I had totally forgotten the blurb when I went into this book and I highly recommend this as the way to go because it was so fun learning about everything and everyone as the book went on.

The writing style was simple but beautiful. I could imagine all of these characters and the setting, the treasures and the adventure. I am very glad that I got the chance to read this book and will be waiting patiently (who am I kidding?) for the next book in this series which is sure to entertain children and adults!

I gave this book 4.5 stars. Tia, Pasco, Meghan and all the other characters are realistic, kind, caring and supportive, which was so lovely to read about. The villain is seen a few times throughout the book, and you know “who” they are, but it’s great to see them reappear just as things get exciting during the quest. This was a beautiful story of family, friendship, treasures and fun. I also loved the activities at the end, they were an amazing addition and I think more books should include these kinds of pages! I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes stories of found family, friendship, adventure, myths, stories, treasures and important messages. I’m looking forward to the next book and reading more about Tia’s adventures!

You can find the full review on my blog soon!

Profile Image for Lucy Catten.
160 reviews7 followers
November 27, 2020
A quest for truth sparks a hunt for a legendary hoard of magical treasures.

I was absolutely thrilled to be sent a copy of this middle grade book prior to publication and to be asked to kick off James Haddell’s blog tour. As a primary school Reading Lead, I am always on the lookout for high quality, high-interest children’s books and this ticks all the boxes! I can’t wait to share it with my class.

When James first contacted me, he described this story as, ‘The first instalment in a series about an orphaned girl, her search for answers about her past, and the adventures this leads her on. Her search for answers ignites with the arrival of a sinister stranger and a move to a new home: Stormhaven Castle, where unravelling mysteries of the past is part of everyday life.’ I was sold immediately! An adventure story with a strong female protagonist and a Castle thrown into the mix? Who wouldn’t be?

From the moment I met Tia Hemyke, I was completely drawn into her story. Tia is an orphan – she knows nothing of her past and her only clues are a collection of mysterious objects that were left with her when she was a baby. Right at the beginning of the story the mood is quiet and thoughtful. We learn that she is about to embark on a new life with Mr and Mrs Trevelyan who are to become her new mum and dad.

Very quickly however, the pace quickens and the story explodes! Within just a few pages, the ‘sinister stranger’ mentioned above bursts on to the scene. Mr Silverman clearly has an ulterior motive for turning up at Mrs Davidson’s home for orphaned girls, and he seems strangely interested in the pendant Tia is wearing around her neck… Tia escapes him, but not before Mr Silverman throws the name ‘Geoffrey Hemyke’ at her, which, as a child desperate to understand her past, understandably sparks Tia’s interest. And this is where the ‘quest’ in the title begins.

Mr and Mrs Trevelyan take Tia to live in the idyllic sounding Stormhaven Castle. We learn that this castle is steeped in history, having ‘been home to warlords, kings, knights and sorcerers… nowadays it is home to a community of archaeologists and historians who are trying to unlock the hidden secrets of its past.’ What better place for Tia to explore her past and her possible link to eminent historian, Geoffrey Hemyke? She learns that he is believed to have unearthed ‘the secret of a long lost medieval hoard of treasure…’ This piques Tia’s interest. Could this hoard of treasure be linked to the mysterious artefacts she was left with as a baby?

Tia has help in her quest from her new sister Meghan and the new friends she makes at Stormhaven Castle School of Exploration and Discovery (I mean, what a name!). Her adventure will turn out to be dangerous and of course, things do not quite go to plan…

James, as a teacher himself, understands how hard it can be to keep children’s interest in a story. The fast pace of this story along with all the twists and turns are bound to keep even the most reluctant reader engaged. There are plenty of opportunities for discussion along the way and James has even included discussion prompts for each chapter at the back of the book.

Lastly, he has expertly combined fiction with historical detail. I had no idea until the end, for example, that several of the artefacts mentioned in the story are real or that The Thirteen Treasures of Britain are a series of items described in late medieval Welsh manuscripts. This level of detail adds a depth to the story that I was not expecting and which is guaranteed to fascinate readers of all ages. I absolutely cannot wait to see where he takes Tia next.

The Lost Child’s Quest – Tales of Truth & Treasure Book 1 – by James Haddell is out on Friday 4th December and can be pre-ordered from Emira Press. It will be available on Amazon from the day of publication.
1 review
November 28, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this debut middle grade story by James Haddell. It is a story with real heart. Tia is a wonderful character who is easy to empathise with. Her new adopted family have real charm and it is hard not to like them; from her new sister 'Meghan' who is an over enthusiastic chatterbox to her new grandfather 'Grandpa Locryn' who is the local priest and has a real twinkle in his eye, there is a whole host of characters who form around Tia to become a loving support network. Her new parents too both clearly love and care for their new daughter and all of this adds a real warmth to the story.

As well as her family, Tia also meets more new people at her new school. I have to say, I really loved reading the school chapters and I think I would have loved to go to the school myself as a child. There is a real sense of adventure about the school and its teachers; the setting (the Castle) affords it a sort of magical charm. Tia meets her new best friend 'Pasco' at the school who, as an introvert, provides a great counter balance to her over enthusiastic extrovert sister.

A lot of the story seems to be about setting the scene and establishing the characters that surround Tia, there are gentle teases along the way pointing at the mystery of Tia's past and her mysterious treasures and these clues all carefully build towards the conclusion of the story where the pace dramatically increases and leads to a very exciting conclusion.

One of the things I like about this story is that there is a passion for history and learning burning through clearly. The family are passionate about history and archaeology as are the teachers at the school and the historical treasures and and events mentioned in the story are rooted in real history. I love it when books do this; it makes me want to read around the story and find out about the history that inspired it. In this case it is history linked to the Arthurian legends and I found it fascinating.

Another thing I liked about the story was the way it represented Tia as an adopted child. She gradually comes to trust her new family and through their support gain confidence in herself. I can imagine that other adopted children would be able to identify with the feelings that Tia goes through as she comes to accept her adopted family.

I think this book would appeal to lots of children and I shall definitely have a copy in my own class library. There are lots of cross curricular links possible for those teachers who would want to use it in lessons as well. I would recommend it for year 4 and above.

I finished the book being thoroughly enthralled and wanting to read more. I loved this first glimpse at answers to Tia's mystery and really want to know what will happen next. This is a skilfully written mystery story with just a sprinkle of magic. I am really glad to know that James has more planned for Tia and I for one will enjoy following her future adventures.
Profile Image for Livy.
252 reviews12 followers
January 3, 2021
Tia's adventures were really wonderful to read about and I especially loved how they were framed around the legend of Arthur and Merlin, as that is a particular interest of mine.

It was really refreshing to read about a young orphan who finds a valued and supportive family becuase quite often in MG books the orphan protagonist is alone in the world. The familial relariosnhisp between Tia and her adoptive was so wholesome and really added an extra dimension to her story, even while she wa searching to find out about her past.

The setting of the story was incredible too, I mean who wouldn't want to live in an ancient castle with an epic school and immense library? I loved that we got to really explore Stormhaven through Tia's eyes and learn more about the fascinating community that had developed their over the years. I just want to go live there and dig up cool archaeological objects!!

I really enjoyed this book and I am really looking forward to reaidng the sequel when it is released!

I was kindly provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
November 24, 2020
This story is right up my street! I loved the use of historical facts to bring the story to life! Full of mystery, suspense, surprise and fun, this will keep you wanting to read it without putting it down! I read if in one sitting it kept me hooked! Thank you James for a wonderful story!
May 10, 2021
Review by my 12 year old son: This book is amazing, I saw the book and thought it would be interesting but it is actually a load better the characters, the journey, the challenges they are absolutely phenomenal I really enjoy the discoveries that Tia and Pasco make, the way that the story is laid out is amazing. My favourite character is probably Megan because of the amount of energy she has makes me feel like I want to jump up and down, also because she just can’t keep quiet which I can totally relate to. Five star all round for this book. I would recommend this book to everyone but especially people who love History/ Archaeology.
Profile Image for Hollylovesbooks.
695 reviews
December 12, 2020
I didn’t know what to expect when I went into this book as I couldn’t find a synopsis for it but, I was intrigued by the fact that it was middle grade and that I liked the cover.

The beginning of this book had me hooked, I wanted to know who this man was and why he was so interested in her and also about the strange pendant that she wears. I won’t say anymore because of spoilers but, I was intrigued.

Tia is a very interesting character and despite the fact that she is very young she is very brave. She wants to know about her past and where she comes from but, is also taking the time to learn about herself as well. I loved the relationship she had with her mum and dad as well her sister and all of her family members.

The mentions of Arthurian legend, Merlin and Rome where really interesting, I love history and I loved every time it was brought up in this book, I wasn’t expecting it. I loved the fact that it was set in Wales as a lot of the places mentioned I have been to quite frequently and I recognised a lot of the words. I used to be able to speak Welsh very well, my mothers side of the family are all welsh but, I have lost it now, it was nice to recognise a lot of the words and history though.

The school setting was really interesting I would of loved to attend their school, I think I would of gone to school a lot more than I did hehe. The way in which tia and her classmates where taught as well was interesting.

I’m excited to see where this is going to go in book 2, I hope I don’t have to wait to long as I really want to know what happens hehe. If you love middle grade books with history, magic, castles and more, pick up this book
Profile Image for Kirsten Barrett.
171 reviews1 follower
May 16, 2021
An adventure story, following Tia - who has been adopted by a very interesting family.

It's a mix of adventure and history, as Tia looks for answers about who she is, she discovers more questions that connect her to some historical mysteries.

I don't like spoilers, so won't say much more!
I did enjoy my read, from the interesting school (that as a teacher sounds delightful to work in) to a young girl who is adopted and is finding her place in a family.
1 review
December 26, 2020
Absolutely loved this book-couldn't put it down! A real page-turner filled with adventure, warmth, love and truth. Includes fantastic activities for children at the back that cover the breadth of the curriculum but are hugely engaging and challenging. Can't wait for the next one to be released!
1 review
December 30, 2020
From my 10 year old nephew:

This morning I finished the book and it was really intriguing. I couldn't take my eyes off the words. If there was a scale from 1 to 10 on the excitement of the story it would get to the top every time. I highly recommend it and you are welcome to borrow it. it was a very good choice of present. I thank you loads, and I hope you like it as much as I do.
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