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Hell and High Water

Written by Tanya Landman

Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on Hell and High Water

The astonishing story of a young man's quest to find justice for his father, from the Carnegie Medal-winning author of Buffalo Soldier.  Holding the reader in suspense throughout it charts the growth of a frightened boy into a brave young man with the inspiration drawn from the shocking true story of Thomas Benson, an eighteenth-century Devonshire smuggler.

LoveReading4Kids

Hell and High Water Synopsis

Set in eighteenth-century Devon, this is the story of Caleb, the son of a poor puppeteer. When his father is wrongfully accused of theft and sentenced to transportation, Caleb is left all alone in the world. As a mixed race boy living in an age of slavery, he has always been treated with fear and mistrust. Without his father he is more vulnerable than ever, and is forced to seek out his estranged aunt. After a body washes up on a nearby beach, a shattered Caleb finds himself involved in a dastardly plot: a plot that places him and his newfound family in mortal danger. This powerful story holds the reader in suspense as it charts the growth of a frightened boy into a brave young man.

Tanya drew on her experiences of running puppet shows for Storybox Theatre to create Caleb's father's Punch & Judy show.

Hell and High Water Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Edel Waugh - 'A truly wonderful book with adventure, mystery, and an inspiring young male character.' 
  • Alice East - 'Caleb and his father run a puppet show, making just enough money to live off.  When Caleb's father gets accused of a robbery it is up to Caleb to save him.'

Book Information

ISBN: 9781406356618
Publication date: 1st October 2015
Author: Tanya Landman
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 320 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4
Topics: Historical Fiction

About Tanya Landman

Tanya Landman has written numerous books for children and young people, including Buffalo Soldier, winner of the Carnegie Medal, Apache, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Booktrust Teenage Prize, The Goldsmith's Daughter and Hell and High Water, shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Sam Swann and Poppy Fields mystery series and the beautiful picture book Mary's Penny. Tanya lives in Bideford, Devon, with her husband and their two sons. Read more about the author here.  

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