The Deadly Sky by David Hill, Penguin NZ
There’s always a lot to learn in David Hill’s books – I actually enjoy the information as much as the stories. This YA novel is set in 1974 and looks at French nuclear testing at Mururoa. I should remember many of the events described in the story – I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t until I read about them in this book. The story is written from the point of view of Darryl, who’s in the fourth form at school (Year10). He’s been watching some TV programmes about nuclear bombs and has managed to get himself thoroughly confused about the ethics of nuclear testing. His dilemma is temporarily put aside when he travels with his mother to a beautiful island called Mangareva in the same archipelago as Mururoa. But violent anti-nuclear protests in Tahiti increase his unease, especially when he meets some of the young people involved. The plot winds inexorably towards a situation where Darryl, his mother, and a planeload of people are put in extreme danger…
As with all of David’s books, the style is straightforward and easy to read, the characters are homely and believable, and the plot gallops along. It makes an excellent read for teenage boys – and I hope a few girls read it too. It’s also available as an e-book.
BTW, congratulations to Penguin NZ for the eye-catching cover, and for their brainwave of designing similar covers for David’s latest three books. They look like an unofficial series, and will hopefully encourage young readers to read them all.
ISBN 9780143308157 $19.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman