The Enid Blyton Society
The Secret Valley
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Book Details...

First edition: 2009
Publisher: Award
Illustrator: Val Biro
Category: Secret Series Sequel
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Continuation Books

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Review by Julie Heginbotham

Author: Trevor Bolton
Publication Date: June 1st 2009
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 1841356786
ISBN-13: 978-1841356785

Also published as a limited edition hardback

This excellent book is the work of Trevor Bolton, who I think writes well in the Enid Blyton style that we all love. He gets straight into the story, and doesn't use too much endless descriptive text - which I personally find rather tedious in some writers, as they don't leave anything to the reader's imagination at all.

I don't want to give away the complete story of this book, and spoil it for anyone who as yet, hasn't read it, but it surrounds a secret plane, which Captain Arnold and Mrs Arnold are testing in a mountainous valley in Baronia, joined by the children and Prince Paul.

This book is number six in the Secret Series. Enid Blyton herself wrote the first five books, starting with The Secret Island in 1938 and finishing with The Secret of Moon Castle in 1953, which I believe she wrote to please the demands of her readers.

The book starts off with the words, "Look! Mountains everywhere! You can see them peeping through the breaks in the cloud!" I always find a book more appealing when it starts off with conversation, and automatically you want to know more about these mountains and more importantly, where they are! A really clever introduction by Trevor.

Anyone familiar with this Secret Series, will know that the stories include the main characters of Mike and his twin sister, Nora, their elder sister Peggy and their friend Jack and Prince Paul of Baronia. Readers of this series were introduced to Prince Paul in the second book, titled The Secret of Spiggy Holes, where he was rescued by the children after being kidnapped.

Trevor very cleverly mentions in this book, some of the previous books in the series, such as The Secret Island, The Secret Mountain and The Secret of Killimooin, which has been retitled by Award books as The Secret Forest.

The story gets quickly under way, when during a bad storm in the night; the children have to abandon their tents, in which they are camping, for the shelter of a cave on the hillside. The storm dislodges overhanging boulders and rocks and the children become trapped. Thus begins a thrilling adventure full of secrets hidden ways, top-secret plans, sabotage and, of course, the mysterious "Secret Valley" itself. Can the children manage to foil the plans of the ruthless enemies they encounter, without landing themselves in further danger?

Trevor really keeps the tension mounting in his writing and it's very hard to put the book down, wanting to find out what happens next within the pages, right up until the very last chapter.

Once I'd finished this book, I was really inspired to read the whole of the series from the beginning as it's been many, many years since I've read them. Now that has to be a true testimony to Trevor's writing.

This book is well worth a read, even though it is a continuation novel and not written by Enid herself. Some readers may only prefer to read the works of Enid and not the continuation novels that we can still read today by many talented writers. But it's Enid's works and the many characters within these books that we all love that has inspired these writers to keep the characters alive today enabling us to still enjoy their adventures and school days.

This surely has to be a very high accolade for Enid Blyton herself, that all the famous characters she wrote about with such talent can now live on.