Review by Venturer Scout James Brown
Georges River Unit
The writing was on the wall
BY JIM GAINSFORD
11/12/2008 4:25:00 PM
BANKSIA author Christopher Holcroft did not want to keep his loyal readers hanging in mid-air.
Seven months after publishing Only The Brave Dare, his first adventure novel for young adult readers, he has finished a second book, Canyon.
Part one of the series told the story of a Venturer Scouts unit, led by the unassuming hero Scott Morrow, which encounters the Russian Mafia while diving in a submarine wreck.
In the second book, Scott Morrow and the Venturer Scouts have an abseiling accident while on a canyoning trip in the Blue Mountains. Morrow must hold together the unit members while army commandos and Rover Scouts race to save them.
Mr Holcroft describes his series as "pure escapism'' and draws on his experience as a lieutenant-colonel in the Army Reserve, serving in the Middle East, Timor and Papua New Guinea, and 30 years heading Venturer Scouts units.
He hopes the page-turning yarn will encourage those aged 17-26 to undertake emergency training with the SES.
"The message is that it does not take a hero but it takes training to be aware of the dangers of the wild, and how to overcome them,'' he said.
The third part of the series will be available next year.
St George and Sutherland Shire Leader
When the Brave Dare to Canyon
Review by Michael Lee, 18 of Hurstville,
New South Wales, Australia
CANYON by Christopher J Holcroft, is the second instalment in a series that follows the adventures of Scott Morrow and his Venturer Unit. The novel tells the story of a canyoning trip that places the Venturer Unit against the elements and forces them to make a life and death decision.
The book begins with the characters practicing their abseiling skills, as they learn to trust each other, in a controlled environment before they have to put these skills into practice in the most extreme weather conditions.
With meticulous detail the author impeccably describes the scene, painting a picture in the reader’s mind. As the story builds in intensity the author switches between characters at different locations keeping the reader’s intrigue.
The book shows the important connections between the different sections of the scouting family, particularly the bond between Venturers and Rovers.
Like Only the Brave Dare, the book is targeted towards teenage readers with a passion for adventure.
Throughout the adventures of the Venturer Unit the author highlights the importance of team work.
The novel is a suspenseful and entertaining read that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
CANYON is an adrenaline filled story that will be thoroughly enjoyed by all teenagers.
CANYON is available through Poseidon Books at www.poseidonbooks.com/
Only The Brave Dare, by Christopher Holcroft, is a novel about Venturers on a camping trip who cross paths with the Russian Mafia.
The book begins with a Queens Scout presentation and then introduces the main character.
The world of Scouting and Venturing is described as the novel incorporates an emotional touch to the characters' interactions.
The novel switches between different characters in different locations with different roles in a fashion that is simple to understand.
Although there is the occasional violence, the author's description is acceptable for teenage readers.
Only The Brave Dare portrays the Scouts as an organised, independent unit with some of their feats and routines seeming almost unbelievable.
However, their feats and routines are plausible with the Venturers' training and experience.
With the novel being set for a younger age, and using younger characters as the main role players, Only The Brave Dare is a gripping read for any teenager.
Although the novel has several corny pages at the start, overall, it is a suspenseful and entertaining read.
The novel is definitely a decent, educational experience for any teenager.
Venturer Christopher Gantert
Phtoto by Carlos Furtado
Poseidon Books, 2008 ( www.poseidonbooks.com )
(Age 12+) Described by the author as a modern Biggles, Only The Brave Dare is the story of a group of Venturers who uncover a drug deal by the Russian Mafia while exploring a wrecked submarine. Taken captive by the gang, it is up to Scott, an unassuming Venturer, to find a way to save his mates.
The action switches from the Venturers to the Russian Mafia in alternate chapters or sections, helping to identify the characters and what is happening. A more sophisticated reader may find the italics for different speakers distracting and the conversation rather heavy handed.
A fast paced adventure story, this will appeal to boys who are in the Scouting movement and the descriptions of the advantages of being a Venturer would perhaps encourage young boys to join the group.