Facts about the book:
Number of pages: 139
Writer: Andrew Norriss.
Published: first time in 1997 and this version in 2001
Publisher: Penguin Books
On the writer:
Andrew Norriss was born in Dingwall, Scotland. Now he lives in a small town in Hampshire’s Test Valley. He is not a big city person, but loves being able to go down to the shop and say ‘’good morning’’ to everybody he sees. He didn’t enjoy school to much but must confess that it had mostly to do with him and not the school itself. Once he went to a hypnotizer and while ‘’asleep’’ he told the hypnotizer that he wanted to become a writer, and so he did. The best way to get ideas, he thinks, is by sitting down with the TV shut off. After a while he must come up with something.
When he was a child he liked reading Narnia by C.S. Lewis. He believed in the lion Aslan (from Narnia) before he believed in God, which he does now.
His present favourite authors are Patrick O’Brian and Terry Pratchett. Terry Pratchett’s books are the kind of books he has got in ‘’hard back’’ because he can’t wait until the paperbacks are published. His favourite book that he has written is a book called Bernard’s Watch.
He has also written the scripts for a variety of movies, including ‘’Aquila’’, which is the book I have read.
This book is mainly about two not too school loving boys called Tom and Geoff. Tom and Geoff fall down into a cave, and find something quite unexpected. They find something that to the boys at first looks just like a big red rock. The big red thing they find is something quite different than a big red rock. It seems to be a vehicle of some kind, but they just don’t know how to get it started. They jump into it and are amazed by all the flashing lights. They decide to push one of them and both close their eyes. Before they know it they are hovering hundreds of metres up in the air. Geoff, who is the exploring kind of guy, finds out how to take control of the thing. Back on the ground they find it very interesting why this flying machine was so darn well hidden. It seems to be that a roman soldier had guarded to his death (He had of course died hundreds of years ago, about thirteen hundred years ago to be more exact.).
Tom discovers some gold paint on the hull of the machine, it says: “Aquila”. Aquila is Latin for eagle. When they tell their teacher about the skeleton of the solider in the cave he contacts an archaeologist to check it out. Tom and Geoff had of course hidden Aquila and they hadn’t told anybody about it.
Some days later they collect Aquila and bring her home to Tom’s house. Tom’s mom never leaves the house so Aquila is safe in their garage. They decide to try out some of the buttons on Aquila. One of them set fire to the whole neighbourhood and the second one makes Aquila invisible. The invisible-button they find very useful. Now they can travel where ever they want to without being spotted. While all this is happening, all the teachers are a little bit worried about Tom and Geoff. Some of the teachers haven’t ever heard them say a word, but all of a sudden they are interested in maths and Latin. They find out that the boys have been checking out books, including Latin dictionaries and books that teach you how to fly aeroplanes.
One day the boys go out to buy ice cream. Sitting in Aquila a man passing by tells them that they have a nice cart and they probably got it from a film set. The boys can’t believe that he can see them because they pressed the invisible button before they left Tom’s house. Suddenly they see a flashing light on the dashboard. They don’t understand what it means but they turn the invisible function back on and go to the abandoned part of the city park, and press the flashing light. Around the corner comes their teacher and Aquila sucks up her shopping cart. They quickly press the button and fly away. They now understand that the flashing lights meant that Aquila was almost out of power. After making some research they understand that Aquila’s power source is water. Tom fills Aquila up using a garden hose. He can’t understand how he could keep on with filling her up. He had pumped hundreds of litres into Aquila but still she wasn’t full.
After a couple of weeks or so the teachers find Tom’s notebook. In this notebook Tom has written down everything that has happened. Even how they found the machine and where they had hidden it. The teachers bring in Tom and Geoff’s parents for a talk and to tell them what the school days are going to be from now.. Tom’s mom who has gotten a grip on herself and now together with Geoff’s parents in the teachers’ room waiting for the boys. When the boys arrive they get very scared. They know what is going to happen. The first thing they see when they sit down is a photocopy of Tom’s notebook. Tom and Geoff think that they have to go to jail or to live with some other family, but they get different school hours instead. Their teacher, of course, do not believe that Aquila is something real but thinks it is something Tom has made up together with Geoff. Therefore she just makes them come to school on Saturdays and Sundays and afternoons, to learn what they have missed while they have been slobbing about. Which is since they went to the first grade. They find out that Tom is dyslectic and that solves why he was never any good in school.
Because Tom’s mom has started going out of the house, the boys have to find a new hiding place for Aquila. The water tower just outside town seems to be the best idea, and they hide her there.
After a couple of weeks of the new schedule, Tom and Geoff go out to the water tower to test Aquila’s abilities, finding out that she can provide power and send out micro waves. Tom and Geoff bring a lamp and some hot cocoa and make Aquila use her power to warm the cocoa and provide power to the lamp. This works and they make a cosy apartment in the old water tower. One day Geoff wants too see how high Aquila can go and brings Tom. At first they can see the whole town, and later the whole country. Then the whole hemisphere. The last thing they see of our planet is a little tiny dot.
They are gone for good.
I think the book is a very good book and I like that the writer has put some humour into it. So that way it doesn’t become a boring science fiction book like all the other ones. I like that the main characters are boys and not men. The book is well composed and has got a few challenging words. All in all I liked it very much and I enjoyed reading it.