No Man’s Land


Alan’s father smuggles him, and his little brother, Sam, to a place of safety early one morning. It seems there are signs of war between Albion and the Rest of the World. Although the place to which they’re delivered is said to have been familiar to the boys’ late mother, they’ve no recollection. What’s more, it is so different with its rabbit farming, goat milking and subsistence ways. Furthermore, Alan’s phone, which holds his father’s number only, is confiscated almost immediately. Thereafter, he can communicate with him rarely. However, when there is no response from his father, Alan knows he must act. He must invent ‘the Game’ to lead Sam home, across No Man’s Land.

Yet how do they plot a course, and what is happening in the world? Furthermore, who is there father? They know he’s been an interceptor for Albion, but what does that mean? Then again, why were they smuggled away?

Is it possible the boys can find their way home safely? What will they find there?

Joanna Nadin’s No Man’s Land is a heartwarming, provocative, determined and relevant novel recommended particularly for thoughtful, empathetic middle grade readers. This is a stunning book.

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No Man’s Land

Joanna Nadin

(UCLan Publishing)

The first sign of things changing is the disappearance of Mrs King. However, the school offers no explanation. Meanwhile,  Mr Gosforth, who appears mysteriously uses the word ‘inappropriate’ when answering questions about this and other changes. Thereafter, Paris suggests it might be because she’s ‘a traitor- someone against king and Albion’.
It seems that everyone has to be very careful about what they do and say, especially if there’s any sign of Resistance to Albion. Things are so serious that Paris suggests it could be leading to a war, Fighting the Rest of the World. Could that be why Alan and Sam’s Dad smuggles them away from home into an unknown wilderness? This is a No Man’s Land of rabbits and goat milking and missing Mum. However, Mum was familiar with this place it seems, though Dad never shared any of this. What’s more, getting in touch with Dad is nearly impossible, for Maggie keeps the phone that contains only one number. However, Dad promised he would be there for Alan’s birthday. Therefore when the messages stop, Alan knows that he and Sam must play a new Game, and find Dad. Do they dare?
Joanna Nadin is an exceptional writer. We are as confused by the world in which Alan lives as he is. What’s more, we feel his responsibility for Sam, and the ache he feels for Mum, and then Dad. How can you need to be so careful of allegiances and beliefs? What’s more, what side are they even on? While this novel includes dystopian anxiety similar to The Ash House this is grounded in a sense of what we know, hear and live within. Bookwagon is awed by No Man’s Land. We recommend it highly to dedicated readers, and then for sharing and discussion.


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