Milo's Wolves by Jenny Nimmo (2001)
Here's a book that catches all the loneliness of not belonging.
Milo is Laura's dad. He's a bit of a broken specimen now, but he used to be a stuntman. Still available for work, but not really getting any, he is content to stay at home looking after Laura and her brother and sister while their mum, Mary, goes out to the office. He runs a haphazard household, but that isn't really the point, is it? They're poor, but happy.
Then one day, just out of the blue, Mary and Milo bring Gwendal home. It wouldn't be so bad if they just said they wanted to adopt the boy, but they insist that Gwendal is their other son.
It was suddenly all too awesome to contemplate. A brother: someone who'd never existed, plummeting into the heart of our family without any warning. Like magic.
Strange though. Gwendal doesn't look anything like Milo or Mary. And he's very clever too - a bit of a genius in fact. You should see the bedroom that they prepared for him:
We gazed into a room that was quite unrecognizable. White machinery gleamed on metal shelves: a computer, a printer, tape deck and copier. Silver-shaded lamps leaned obligingly over the bed and a chrome-covered desktop, and a pale thick-piled rug stretched from door to window.
How has all this stuff been paid for? Gwendal has a sponsor, it seems.
But there are other people interested in Gwendal. Who is the sinister Mr Culfire, and what are the strange grey shapes that threaten Milo and the children as they go about their business?
Milo, of course, is the perfect bodyguard - ex-stuntman, ready for a bit of excitement in his life. But he sustains a few bumps and bruises more than he reckoned on.
Gwendal knew all along that Milo would look after him. He was right! But if you want to know who Gwendal actually is, who Gwendal's enemies are - and who his powerful friends are - you will have to read the book. I found this a really thrilling mystery adventure. The background scenery is breathtaking and the suspense nearly killed me.
What can I read next?
If you enjoyed this story, you could look at the other books that Jenny Nimmo has written for older readers. There is an extraordinary fantasy trilogy:
- The Snow Spider
- Emlyn's Moon
- The Chestnut Soldier
There are so many excellent fantasies about that it is difficult to choose! If you haven't already looked at this trilogy by Philip Pullman, I recommend it:
Also, anything by David Almond should hold your attention. David Almond's books are rather like Jenny Nimmo's because they are all definitely set in reality, and yet they drift off into fantasy, and you can hardly see the join!:
You might also really enjoy this one by Jan Mark:
Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:
- The Coral Island by R M Ballantyne (Score: 89%)
- The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien (Score: 89%)
- Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones (Score: 89%)
- The New Policeman by Kate Thompson (Score: 89%)
- An Angel for May by Melvin Burgess (Score: 86%)
Milo's Wolves features in these lists: