26/06/2009

The Neglected Mountain (by Malcolm Saville)

I do like Malcolm Saville's books for teenagers. I discovered and fell in love with the 'Lone Pine' series in my teens, and gradually collected them all. Most of the earlier ones were only in print in slightly abridged Armada paperbacks at the time, so those are the editions I have. I'm delighted to see that many of them were republished in facsimile form by the Girls Gone By publishers, although I would have thought they would appeal to boys as much as girls.

'The Neglected Mountain' is seventh in this series of adventure stories for teenagers. The series started with 'Mystery in Witchend', when a group of young teenagers, and some nine-year-old twins started a secret club for tracking strangers, being kind to animals, and being loyal to each other.

Although the author originally planned to keep all the club members at the same age, the characters evidently developed beyond his original ideas, as all the best characters do. And so, in this book, the older Lone Piners are sixteen, and beginning to realise how much they mean to each other, with just a hint of mild romance to come in later books.

The adventure in this story centres around dogs being stolen. It's set in the Shropshire hills, as with many of the other books in the series, and involves the ten-year-old twins' Scottie, whose name is Macbeth (Mackie).

There's humour in some of the twins' conversation and antics, and also a surprising amount of moving passages that made my eyes mist over, related to the Lone Piners' loyalty and affection for each other, and their love for Mackie. Although I like all the books in the series, some of the earlier ones seem a little artificial in places, and difficult to get into. In a way, it feels as if the Lone Pine series really gets going in this book, with some excellent characterisation.

There's nothing too deep, despite some thrills and excitements, and narrow escapes. I suppose a book like this is too innocent for most of today's teens. It also reflects a bygone age, when teenagers of sixteen were still considered children, albeit older ones, and ten-year-olds were quite safe to be out on their own in the mountains.

I always enjoyed these books, and am pleased to find that I like them just as much now as I did over thirty years ago. This is one of my favourites. Definitely recommended if you can find this book inexpensively; unfortunately the hardback or more recent editions tend to be very highly priced, but the paperbacks can sometimes be found in second-hand or charity shops.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 26th June 2009

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nHi to anybody and perhaps, everybody that might read this message/response. My name is chas [charles]albert,am now 60 years old, I had the very good fortune to have been able to read this book THE NEGLECTED MOUNTAIN when I was only 6 years old, and then subseqently another perhaps 6 or 7 times since. It was the very first hardback I read,..after being continously being mildly told off for hoarding children's books in my desk at primary school.I think that my class teacher[mrs Markham who gave it to me as a gift] was perhaps a little proud of the fact that I was such a 'good reader'[it seems]and then 'paraded' me around the various different classes in my year [and older] to read excerpts from the book publicly to the other pupils. Yes of course I feel a bit proud of that, I will admit!! Anyway I would like to say, that then, and now it was such a lovely, exciting and mind capturing book for me, and I'm sure many other children felt the same. Bishops Castle Ludlow the Clun forest, the Long Mynd and more, have, and will stay with me all my life. thanks for reading this sentiment folks.
chas albert Kingswood Primary school London SE 27