The Enid Blyton Society
The Adventurous Four Again
Back Book 2 of 2 in this category Next

Book Details...

First edition: 1947
Publisher: George Newnes
Illustrator: Jessie Land
Category: Adventurous Four
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Artwork
Review by David Cook
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Jessie Land



1st Australian edition published by Angus and Robertson in 1953
re-illustrated cover by an uncredited artist.



1st German edition published by Bertelsmann Verlag, GŁtersloh, in 1970,
illustrated by Rolf and Margret Rettich, with the title The Arnold Children in Big Difficulties

In Germany the Secret Series and the Adventurous Four became one series,
firstly called 'The Arnold Children' and later 'The Bold Four'
Brief Summary by Cathy Cunningham: Tom, Jill, Mary, and their best friend, fisher-boy Andy, are off on another smashing holiday trip in Andy's boat - a trip along the rugged Scottish coast to a lonely cliff where they can watch birds and camp for a night. However, things at the lonely cliff are not as they seem, and the mysterious happenings soon throw the four into another thrilling adventure...


Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

David Cook's Review
This somewhat belated sequel was first serialised in Sunny Stories between February 8th 1946 and January 24th 1947. The action purports to take place in the Easter holidays of the year following The Adventurous Four, which would make the time of the adventure 1942, but much of what is described in this story is plainly more appropriate to the time it was actually written.

Tom and the twins arrive back at their holiday cottage from school and are greeted by their mother with one of Enid's sizeable teas, which does not reflect the rationing that still would be going on in 1942. And the main plot of the story involves gun running, something less likely to occur during wartime, when the movement of munitions would be strictly supervised and the members of the gang operating the smuggling subject to call up in time of war.

Tom is still initially described as being aged twelve, but his mother later refers to him as being nearly thirteen and Andy nearly fifteen, which would give them birthdays in the summer, thus Enid has righted herself. The ages of the twin girls is again not revealed.

Much description that is provided in the original edition is again missing from the latest Collins edition. Take for instance this lovely quick portrait of the spring:

"It was the Easter holiday, and everywhere the trees were leafing, the hedges were greening and the banks were starred with primroses, violets and celandines."

On Andy's first appearance, when the twins say — "Oh Andy, we're all back again, isn't it lovely?" — the fisher-boy's response is "Grand" and it's said — 'He repeated the word and rolled the r in it even more. "Gr-r-r-r-rand!"' In the Collins edition this is replaced by "Great!" and characterisation is lost and the twins' names whilst still changed to Pippa and Zoe have actually been swapped from one twin to the other, therefore losing their individuality and continuity within the series.

These quibbles apart, in its original form the story is a worthy sequel and again appears to have been primarily written as a fast moving action story without too much detailed description. One plot idea of an undersea secret passage, first used in The Island of Adventure in November 1944, would be re-used yet again in Five on Kirrin Island Again published a month later. But in many ways The Adventurous Four Again preludes the similar plot of the more elaborate The Sea of Adventure, which was written ten months later.

After the scene setting opening, Chapter Two starts with the children fishing, catching fish, lobsters, scallops and crabs (though the latter two are missing from the Collins edition) but as with the previous story, by this second chapter, they are off on another sailing trip to the fascinatingly names Cliff of Birds. Beforehand Andy tells them of the birds they are likely to see — gulls, shags, cormorants and puffins — but when they arrive Enid concentrates on the action of the story rather than giving specific ornithological detail.

En route Tom is his usual hungry self, but surprises the others on their arrival by suggesting they delay dinner in favour of a snack to give them more time to explore. Enid describes the frantic crowded activity of the sea birds as the children climb the cliff. Jill has a touch of vertigo and the children are distressed that the birds knock their eggs off of the cliff, though it's noted that some eggs don't fall as they are oval at one end so they just roll around in the same spot. Strangely enough Enid doesn't identify which specific seabird lays these eggs, but it's likely to be the guillemot. Very similar scenes again involving vertigo, falling eggs and a mass of waiting seabirds constantly weaving around each other occur in the more descriptive The Sea of Adventure.

The children follow a ledge path around the cliff and stop to rest in a recessed cave, when they are surprised to hear somebody whistling. They here a scrabbling on another ledge above them as the whistler sits down by the edge and before their very eyes appear his enormous legs which are filthy and covered in black hair. When the man deliberately hurls some birds' eggs down onto their ledge, the children doubly realise that this is a nasty person whose acquaintance they'd prefer not to make. The man also swings binoculars by his feet and appears to be looking out to sea for something. He then moves away up the ledge path and the two boys attempt to track him. Mysteriously the ledge ends where a waterfall flows out of the cliff with no trace of the man to be found, though later they hear him whistling again. However, by then it's time for the children to set sail for home.

Keeping well in character, Tom now typically repeats two actions he had displayed in the previous book. He leaves his camera behind in the recessed cave and when the children return for it some days later, slips off on his own, without telling the others and gets into danger. The Collins edition changes the relevant chapter heading from 'Tom is Disobedient' to 'Tom Knows Best', which patently is not true!

Tom clambers through the waterfall hole when the current lessens and makes discoveries. First he finds a red pearl shirt button that Enid's 'undermind' makes use of later and then a hidden cave full of boxes and inhabited by two men. One man is the hairy-legged one who proves not to be the giant that the children expected, but is instead a curious looking individual with a strong stumpy body and even more strangely as he had previously been described as having black hairy legs, a flaming red beard! The other man looks like a fisherman and is distinguished by one other important detail that Collins have omitted that according to Enid is unusual for a fisherman — he wears glasses!

Tom is discovered and escapes by dropping into a fast-flowing underground river that bears him swiftly away. There is good description here, with Tom bruising himself on a rock as he is swept out to sea, where luckily he is cast onto a rock by the current, while below him the river and sea met and 'fought their eternal battle'.

Tom reunites with the others to escape, but the men have alerted allies and their channel route between the rocks is blocked by a waiting motor-boat and "The Andy" has to flee to a strange island called Smuggler's Rock where that night in a scene reminiscent of some found in the Adventure Series, they see a bright light signalling from the top of the island.

The story continues with many fine traditional Blyton elements brought to bear in exciting fashion. The children find a cave to hide in, but they are captured, their boat disappears and they are removed blindfolded to a cave for the duration when Andy's father arrives searching for them. Determined to find out what villainy is taking place, when next day Andy's father resumes his searching and they are again blindfolded and spirited away, the children drop sea shells to give themselves a trail to follow at night to their enemy's lair.

How they fare on this nocturnal journey, what secrets they discover and in what manner they effect an escape with captive enemies is an engrossing and enthralling adventure that bears favourable comparisons with entries in both the Adventure Series and the Famous Five. Quite why no further full-length Adventurous Four stories were written by Enid is unsure. Perhaps she felt the format was too restrictive and liable to repetition or maybe she had some more lucrative contracts for her other popular series.

Jessie Land's illustrations for this book are very similar to and thus as favourable as those of E.H. Davie for its predecessor. What is noticeable is that when Dorothy Brook brought her more vivid style to this book for the Armada edition, instead of doing completely new illustrations as she had for the first book, she styled the drawings for this story as reproductions of Jessie Land's originals. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.