Saturday 10 September 2011

Review: The Adventures of the New Cut Gang - Philip Pullman

Lambeth, South London, 1894

Meet the New Cut gang - Benny, Thunderbolt, Bridie and the Peretti twins - the greatest detectives since Sexton Blake.  Who's passing counterfeit coins round Lambeth?  Surely not Thunderbolt's dad, who's been arrested.  And who's stolen the Worshipful Company of Gas-Fitters' silver?  With a little help from some colourful (and not always willing) accomplices, our heroes are soon blazing hot on the criminals' trail.

Here - published together for the first time, with all-new illustrations by Martin Brown - are Philip Pullman's classic tales of crime and detection: Thunderbolt's Waxwork and The Gas-Fitters' Ball - a pair of aces from the Master story-teller.

Visit Philip Pullman's website for more information

The Adventures of the New Cut Gang is a bind up of 2 stories by Philip Pullman that were originally published in the 1990's - Thunderbolt's Waxwork and The Gas-Fitters' Ball.  This is a beautiful hardback edition and has been wonderfully illustrated by Martin Brown making it a lovely book to hold a permanent position on any bookshelf.  I hadn't read either of these stories before but as a fan of Philip Pullman I couldn't wait to get stuck in and I definitely wasn't disappointed.

In Thunderbolt's Waxwork we are introduced to the New Cut gang, a rag tag group of mischievous children who want to be detectives.  In their first "case" they are determined to track down the person behind a spate of counterfeit coins doing the rounds in Lambeth.  Thunderbolt's dad has been arrested but they are sure it couldn't be him who was making the coins - can they find a way to prove it and have him released from prison? 

The Gas-Fitters' Ball continues the adventures of the New Cut gang, this time they are on the hunt for a burglar - someone has stolen the Gas-Fitters' silver trophies and the gang are intent on finding out who.  Can they beat the police to find the burglar?

I absolutely loved the characters that make up the New Cut gang.  You have leader Benny who has an imagination that often runs away with him and comes up with crazy plans bound to get them all in trouble, then there is Sam (AKA Thunderbolt) - he is the smart and studious one, Bridie is the hot tempered red head with a heart of gold who is always looking out for the others and her little brother Sharkie Bob who was probably my favourite.  A lot younger than the others he tags along wherever they go eating everything in sight.  You can't forget the Peretti twins Angela and Zerlina who may look like angels but you wouldn't want to end up on their bad side.

The stories themselves are fun and lighthearted adventures that had me laughing out loud as I read them.  They're perfect for bedtime reading and will be enjoyed by both children and adults.  The Victorian setting is well done and I loved the use of British slang.  I read on Philip Pullman's website that there were originally going to be 6 stories about the New Cut gang and I really hope he gets time to write the remaining 4 - I'll be first in the queue to buy them if he does!

Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
Thoughts from the Hearthfire
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. I really liked this one too! Am planning to read it with my youngest soon.

    My review's at:

  2. Huh. From all description, these sound light, humorous, and fast moving.

    I repeat you, because it may save this book in my eyes. See, I'm a heretic. I did not like Dark Materials. In fact, I only got halfway through the second. I thought he had a negligible ability to write from a child's point of view, and that the whole thing, while beautifully written, was entirely without heart.

    So I'm saying all of this, because you are convincing to try Pullman again.

  3. @ Beth - this is such a fun book isn't it! I hope your youngest enjoys it too :o) I've added a link to your review for you

    @ Bets - If you do decide to give this one a try I hope you enjoy it. I actually really liked the Dark Materials series but this book is totally different so hopefully you'll enjoy it :o)

    @ Raimy - please let me know what you think of this one if you do decide to try it!



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