Mister Monday ISBN: 9780007175017
Published by Collins, 2004
This is a long, complex fantasy novel, set sometime in the future when the world is beset by lethal flu bugs that wipe out thousands at a time. Arthur suffers from very serious asthma. He has such bad attacks that he often ends up in hospital. In the midst of one of these, he is confronted by the arch-villain Mister Monday and his seeming side-kick, Sneezer. From this encounter, Arthur, who is about to die from his attack, acquires a Key (which is the minute hand to a clock) and a book with magical powers. So long as the key is in Arthur's possession, his asthma is held at bay. From here on things get very sticky, and Arthur ends up in a parallel world with remarkable fantasy beings, all of whom seem to be after the key. The book is tremendously exciting, with incident after incident. All Arthur is really interested in is finding the answer to the flu epidemic threatening his real world, which he does in the end with the help of a magic Nightsweeper, a horse-like creature. While Arthur's asthma is much in evidence in the beginning chapters of the book, once he is in the other world, it is much less so. I can see boys finding Arthur an exciting role model, and those into fantasy will love it. There are further adventures promised. A jolly good read.