When Fly falls down a chimney and lands in an unknown space, it isn’t so unusual for her. Fly is a Chimney Sweep in London, at the time of King William, and she is used to being sent by nasty Bill to clean away soot and clean up any stray jewels or cash. What does give her pause, though, is that this time she has landed in the cage of a magnificent tiger and that, furthermore, she can talk to him. Somehow, the tiger knows more about her than she does, and Fly will travel with him to claim her royal title and her throne in a faraway land over the sea.
Tiger Heart tells the story of a mesmerising ruby, a magical friendship and a mystical land. With her gang of Tumblers, Sweeps and Mudlarks, Fly outwits the evil usurpers who have stolen a kingdom and many of the people and the animals who inhabit it. She is a witty and likeable rogue with an idiosyncratic turn of phrase: shocks can ‘fair frazzle off your fidgits’, she’s never used a ‘hankersniff’, but she has heard of a ‘corkodile’ – it ate a boy on the London docks.
But at the heart of this lively adventure is also a story of loss, love and belonging. The scenes are vivid and action-packed, but there are reflective moments too. With a sequel planned for next year, Fly and her friends can look forward too many more magical adventures.