John Fish B.Sc. Publishers of Tenby in Wales (UK)

ROWSE LITERARY AGENCY

THE INTREPID FIVE AND A DOG

by

Jon Rowlands

e-mail: Jon Rowlands

SYNOPSIS

SAMPLE CHAPTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

We live in a cruel world; of baby P's and fat-cat bankers; of terrorism and jihad, and unscrupulous wheel-clampers; of morbidly obese children, illiterate and bored; and Sir Terry Wogan leaving the radio station so adored; and also a world that for far too long has been bereft of the adventurous stories of Enid Blyton and the like.

Now, imagine if you will, a cherished world; where the hero children creations of Enid Blyton have grown up and have had children of their own; not with each other, because they were largely brother and sister; apart from a cousin and a dog; and such sort of carrying on would be quite sick; but imagine the generic imprint of everything that Julian, Dick, George, Ann and Timmy the dog stood for; obviously with a few subtle changes that will bring the Blyton family completely up to date with the modern times; but without any necessity for the Aqua-Scutum baseball caps and the overpowering stench of chewing gum.

The Intrepid Five series of stories centres around the Minton household and the adventures that they are drawn and sometimes hurled into.

Jim and Lucy are the parents of three wonderful children; John, Chris and Janet, from thirteen years down to eleven; and in that order; and then there is Nia, Queen of Pembroke; the Minton's chocolate Labrador.

The Intrepid Five series of stories have been written with the discerning young adult in mind; a young adult who likes to laugh his or her socks off; and to cry; or to sit on the edge of their seats; but mostly the stories are to do with the laughing.

At the time of going to press there are seven completed stories in the Intrepid Five series; with the eighth story being quite significantly advanced.

Trouble On Sheep Island - the Minton family reluctantly holiday with Jim's parents in their sprawling home that is nestled upon the banks of the Cleddau river in west Wales; just a mile or so upstream from the petro-chemical refinery and the new LNG plant.

Whilst enjoying a sailing and camping excursion, the Minton children unwittingly stumble upon a horrendous child trafficking operation; and a plot by some Polish ne'er-do-well's to blow up the local refinery using juvenile 'swimming bombs'; to exact revenge for a diabolical holiday that a mysterious figure, and the man in charge, was once forced to endure.

But just who is the mysterious figure that is the brains of the Polish operation; and just how is it that he knows each of the Minton children by their names?

The Nasty Mist Of Doom - alien warriors, the Knorr, come to Earth; their arrival on the planet disguised during a freak electrical storm; and the Knorr divide west Wales into areas of imminent assimilation; the Knorr intent on dividing and conquering the local, rural population, and then later claiming the planet as their own.

While the Minton's were out gallivanting on their speed boat, nearly everyone that they know and might love are captured by the alien warriors and carted off to holding cells whilst they wait for their various assimilations.

The Minton family have a race against time to save their friends; and to rid the planet of the hostile threat that the Knorr pose.

Close Encounters; Up Front And Personal - intergalactic escaped convicts have designs to turn planet Earth into PANTS - a Planetary Assisted Nano-second Transport System; a device that would suck in their stolen spacecraft and then spew it out a little later; rather like a huge and cosmic turbo-charger might do; projecting the convicts towards the awaiting galaxies at ten times the speed of light; and thereby hopefully evading the very long arm of the interstellar constabulary.

But such a device would mean an end to life on Earth as everybody involved had come to know it; and the Minton parents join forces with the intergalactic constabulary to foil the plans of the intergalactic escaped convicts, and also to rescue their abducted children.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Beer Garden - the fourth story in the series sees the introduction of two new characters; Rick and Bruno; two really nice lads who came to Lucy's aid when her husband and the boys are attacked by a giant squid whilst enjoying some sea fishing, and are dragged below to an ancient undersea kingdom known as Heirspré.

Heirspré is a dying civilisation; and the whacky Governor of Heirspré wants some new 'breeding specimens' quite urgently, to help safeguard the longevity of Heirspré; hence the abduction of males by giant squid.

Lucy and Janet, together with Rick and Bruno and an old salt known as Old Salty, take part on an arduous trek down through a system of caves and tunnels that would take them to the undersea kingdom of Heirspré without the need for a giant and marauding squid.

From then on it is a battle against time, the watery elements and imminent death, as Rick unleashes a force still not fully understood by mankind ... the rampant atmosphere of their local pub.

The Sunbed of Eternal Youth - Jim and Lucy take the children on holiday to South Africa; where a chance happening leads to the discovery of a map; a map that might have held a fish when purchased from the local market; or it might well be a map that could lead to unimaginable wealth; and a hilarious reworking of the story of King Solomon and his mines is enacted.

King Moojelli is a local tyrant and usurper to a throne who makes things extremely difficult for the adventuring Minton's and Rick and Bruno; while Ignesi, the wise old sage, tries his very best to hold everything together; until the discovery of a 'desert-gate' and stranger forces older than the ancient land of Africa come into play and soon start to get quite annoyed with the meddling adventurers; and the older and stranger forces start to unleash some of their own, peculiar type of magic.

Virus - a departmental blunder in the Home Office soon leads to ninety percent of the world's population becoming very dead; the victims of an engineered flu virus.

A few hardy survivors in west Wales, notably the Minton's, Rick and Bruno, a priest and a young girl by the name of Sophie, take to motorcycles in their attempt to reach the City; and more importantly, the centre for communicable diseases.

But along the way the intrepid troop are terrorised by an autonomous regiment of the home guard that just seemed to spring from nowhere; one of their party becomes demonically possessed; and by the time that the intrepid troop eventually reach the City, they have an army of possessed undead chasing quickly at their heels.

The Lion, The Witch And The Werewolf - having returned from the City really very triumphant of spirits after their battle against the demon that was Legion, Jim and Lucy and many hundreds of plague survivors establish a self-sufficiency township back in west Wales; a township called Utopia-Ville; a township which even has its own public house.

But there is one who does not wish to be in Utopia-Ville; there is one who was happier when in the City and possessed by Legion; and that one is known as Jonas Prendergast; and Jonas Prendergast slopes off to the forest one night and he invokes the Phantom of the Unknown; and after a brief exchange of gifts and promises, the Phantom of the Unknown gives Jonas Prendergast the gift he so dearly wants; to be a werewolf.

The Minton's, together with Derek, the local white witch and weather guru to Utopia-Ville; and Dwayne, the two ton white and fluffy lion spirit-guide to John Minton, do battle against a dark adversary as the power of Jonas the beast grows.

 

 

 

 

Sample Chapter

Trouble On Sheep Island

Chapter One

1

"If you do exactly as I say, then you have my word that the both of you will live to see the new morning"!

The light of the candle made hideous the harsh reality of the old woman's features, and she cackled quite maniacally as she recognised the look of fear in the faces of the two children. John; eleven, and his sister Janet; eight, had both been transported a long way from their home; and during their waking moments they had largely been bribed and subdued and taken against their will.

"Don't you think that your methods are somewhat archaic, Grandma"? John wondered of his paternal Grandmother. "I am sure that filling rubber bottles with near-boiling water is no real substitute for the centrally heated bedroom" John reasoned quite earnestly and also quite logically.

"You should consider yourselves very lucky" said the paternal Grandmother. "When I was a little girl all we had to keep us warm at night were the bed-warmers; a copper pan on the end of a wooden pole which we would have to fill with cinders from the hearth. And you couldn't keep one of those in bed with you all night. At least you two have a nice hot water bottle each to snuggle up to"!

At that very moment, and as luck would have it, Janet and John's parents burst in through the back door and slammed it firmly shut against the chilliness of an early spring evening in rural West Wales.

"That fun quiz in the local pub is now getting so bad that it is probably a well known contradiction in terms" declared Jim, the Father of Janet and John. "I have never before met the numptee that set tonight's questions; but she must surely have a degree in daytime television with a first in the Jeremy bloody Kyle show"! and Jim flicked the switch that electrically illuminated the kitchen and Lucy, the Mum, twiddled the control of the thermostat until the boiler could be heard to fire up.

"Nice one parents"! said John.

Jim took and long and hard look at two of his children.

"Mum; have you been frightening the kids again with your tales of the antiquated bed-warmers"? and Jim still managed to sound rather ticked off, even through all the beer he had managed to quaff as he sat through the ordeal of the friendly quiz. "It cost me the best part of five grand for your new boiler and central heating system, and yet you still spend most of your day with hot water bottles tied about your person. And it is not just you; so please do not feel alone with my berating; it is Dad too. I have seen the hat that he never takes off. Once upon a time it was red; but now it is just ugly and discoloured"!

"It is a harsh World out there, Jim; and to heat a house this size costs some money" said Jim's Mum. "I was just trying to instil an understanding of the value of money in my Grandchildren"!

"Believe me; they understand all too well" and Jim swayed a little as he endeavoured to remove his boots before he might commit the cardinal sin of stepping foot upon the new carpet that lay just outside the confines of the kitchen. "Janet couldn't have her horse this year because I spent all of the 'building a stable fund' on your central heating system and the new boiler; John dearly wanted to spend this week in Florida with his friend from school; but instead we are freezing our bottoms off because you and Dad are tighter than the pooing end of the proverbial duck" and Jim relaxed just a little bit when he finally managed to remove both of his boots before he had desecrated the sacred and new carpet.

"And where is your brother"? Jim asked his number one son.

"Chris has decided to move into a tree" John had no option but to tell his Father. "He says that it's warmer outside than in this house, and the tree is a lot more comfortable than the bed that he is always made to sleep in when we come down here"!

"Fair enough; he'll either come down when he's hungry or he'll just fall out" Jim presumed. "And whereís Knees"?

'Knees' was the family unit's name for Nia, their two year old chocolate Labrador.

"She's under my bed and she wonít come out for anyone" Janet told her Dad as her paternal Grandmother tutted at the burning lights and left the kitchen.

"Kids; look ... it's really not that bad. I know that this isnít exactly Florida, but the weather forecast for the week ahead looks quite stunning. Maybe we can do Florida next year".

"It doesnít matter where we are just as long as weíre doing it together" John told them. That comment was rather swiftly followed by "MUM! I'm getting way too old for this"! as John's Mum insisted on giving him a great big hug.

"But that was the sweetest thing that I've ever heard you say" Lucy told her eldest son.

"In that case can I have one of Dad's cans of lager then"? John wondered.

"Let's wait for Grandma to go to bed and weíll all have one" Lucy decided.

"And how about a tot of his whisky to help me sleep"? and John continued to test the holiday water.

"One step at a time" said Lucy.

2

The next morning was blessed with an unbroken blue sky and it also saw a ten year old Chris being enticed down from his spruce with the promise of a four-pack of Stella Artois to be delivered one at a time over a four night interval, and just whatsoever it was that he wanted from the Chinese takeaway that evening.

"If they donít do the crispy fried duck then I am back up that tree" and Chris made his intentions quite clear. "I have made squirrel-friends"!

"I am pretty sure that the last time that we came down here we had the crispy fried duck" Lucy did her best to recall. "And do you remember their bones? You were talking about them for days afterwards"!

"Where's Dad"? Chris wondered.

"He's down in the boathouse with John checking out the dinghy. He says that now you are all a year older you can take it out for a sail".

"But Grandpa's boat has a dirty great tree growing out of the middle of it"! Chris protested.

" Not that boat; your father had a little bit of money left over after your Grandparents new central heating system went in, so he bought a sailing dinghy which is to be kept down here. It is supposed to make you look forward to visiting your Grandparents"!

"Oh WOW" and Chris waxed fairly lyrical before he shot off across the lawn just as fast as his legs would carry him.

"What do you think"? Jim asked his middle child as Chris burst in through the doors of the boathouse; somewhat red in the face and panting.

"Itís an absolute beauty" and Chris could find no other words that would do their dinghy any justice.

The dinghy that Jim had bought was a sixteen foot Fireball; and extreme racing dinghy in itís own right. John and his brother had learned to sail in little Mirror dinghies on the reservoir near their Black Country home; but this Fireball was the 'speedboat' of the dinghy sailing fraternity.

"Letís take it out right now" Chris urged the others and he did his excited little dance that normally preceded him when he wanted to go for a pee.

"Do you need the bathroom"? Jim wondered.

"No; letís take the boat out right this minute"! Chris continued to try to urge his Brother and Father.

"There are a couple of slight drawbacks to your plan at the moment" Jim told his son, and he first of all drew Chris's limited attention span to what lay outside the window of the boathouse.

Or, and more to the point, to what wasn't lying outside the window of the boathouse at the minute.

The tide was out!

Jim's parents lived in a wonderful and rambling property that nestled upon one of the banks of the Cleddau River; but the Cleddau River is a Ria; a flooded river estuary and therefore very tidal in itís nature; and for now the tide was about as far out as it goes and as yet Jim had not got around to buying a launching trolley for the dinghy.

"We can carry it" and Chris's determination was far from being broken. "Dad; you can manage the sharp end and me and John will both grab a corner of the blunt end"!

"Your Mum wants to do some shopping first; and then we need to run Knees ragged on a beach somewhere so that she will quite happily sleep while you lot are sailing. Saving our boathouse being looted by a marauding gang of pikees the boat will still be here when we get back and by then the tide will be far enough in for you to have a couple of hours fun in the sun. Oh, and I nearly forgot this"! and Jim held aloft the flier for the local German store that had been included in the daily newspaper. The back page of the flier was dedicated to wetsuits for children and adults alike and Jim had spotted some short-sleeved and short-legged suits that should make the boys and Janet quite comfortable whilst doing the sailing.

"We need to go as soon as" Jim told the boys. "These German stores only get so much stock in; and once itís all gone itís all gone" Jim said of the wetsuits.

"Well weíre ready" said John and Chris in happy unison as they dragged their father by his hands out of the boathouse and across the lawn to the house and the parked cars.

3

"Is it me, or does our mother seem to be going a little bit berserk with the shopping" Chris quietly said to John. "When have you ever seen buy firelighters and a huge box of matches before"?

"Perhaps they are needed for the Aga in the Grandparent's kitchen"? John could only guess.

"And look at her; she's just thrown six packs of boy briefs into her trolley; that's twenty four pairs" Chris correctly calculated. "Have you been wetting the bed again? I know that you do that sometimes when we come down here"!

"No I bloody haven't; I will be twelve next birthday and that sort of malarkey is well behind me"! and John was quite indignant when he pointed out this much to his brother.

"Well it's not me, pal. And she had virtually emptied the shelves of the tins of beans with the little sausages in them. I didn't think that any of us liked them" Chris was quite sure. "One of us needs to check that Mum hasnít developed a bit of a loose screw, and as you are the oldest and sometimes the most diplomatic I hereby nominate you for the job" and Chris pushed John a few steps forward until John was standing next to his Mum as she wheeled her already laden trolley.

"Has Chris been wetting his tree again"? John asked as he eyed the mound of boys briefs that were in her trolley.

"Itís all part of a wonderful surprise" was all that John's Mum would say on the matter. "Now go and find your Father. I would guess that he has not strayed far from the booze aisle"!

"Look at this" said Jim as he found his family instead of them having to find him. "If you buy two big bottles of ginger beer you get a third one for nothing. Itís amazing"!

"Oh my God; they've both flipped" John decided and he told his younger brother the sorry news. "It must have been the strain of our paternal Grandparents" John could only assume.

4

Janet and the boys went to their bedrooms and changed into their swimming costumes and pulled their new wetsuits on while their parents were doing all of the unpacking of groceries.

Knees was lying on her back in her bed with her legs sticking more or less bolt upright, which was 'Nia-speak' for 'donít come anywhere near me', and as Chris rather animatedly cursed the tide for not advancing any more quickly 'Dai next door' advanced from the divide between their two properties and he pulled behind himself a launching trolley.

"Tell your Dad that the next time he's in the pub I won't complain if he buys me a pint or two" and Dai next door dropped the launching trolley at the children's feet before he casually started with his sauntering back next door.

"Thank you Mr Next Door" the boys and Janet all said together.

"Cool; letís do it" said Chris.

"No; we wait for Dad first" John was adamant.

"Good; always listen to your Brother" Jim told Chris. Chris had absolutely no idea that their Father was anywhere near them; Chris just assumed that his Father was still unpacking the groceries.

Jim set Janet the task of checking all the sheets on the dinghy as her Father took her Brothers aside.

"Listen up"! said Jim. "Your Mother, being a typical Mum who is afraid to let go of her 'babies' is not too happy about you taking the boat out alone. I have explained to her that you will not sail out of our sight; that you will respect the water at all times; and that you will not do anything to scare the holy-shit out of your little Sister" Jim briefed the boys. "If you prove to your Mum that you can do all this today then tomorrow you will have the biggest treat ever. But if you let me down and ignore my advice then the Fireball will soon be matchwood and keeping the Aga burning long after we have left. Have I made myself clear"?

"Crystal" said John who surreptitiously gave Chris a little dig between his shoulder blades.

"Absolutely" Chris agreed.

"Right then; letís have some dinghy fun" and Jim wheeled the launching trolley into the boathouse. It was left for Jim to grab the sharp end of the Fireball, while John and Chris each grabbed a corner of the blunt end, but in no time at all the Fireball was perched and looking very pretty upon her borrowed launching trolley.

The foreshore between the boathouse and the water's edge was like most of the banks of the Cleddau River; largely mud and shingle. Janet rode in the boat as she couldnít stand getting mud between her toes. Janet had seen enough 'sea-mud' over the years to know that sea-mud was the home of great big ragworm, and that great big ragworm have great big pointy teeth.

John assumed his place at the helm as the boat was just far enough from the shore to float. Jim held the stern of the boat and waded out far enough with it for Chris to be able to drop the centreboard.

"Enjoy yourselves; behave yourselves and remember the treat" Jim reminded the children as he pushed them towards the main channel of the river. The Father watched with pride as John looked for the wind and Chris pulled in the sheets and made the sails tight to the wind and the Fireball quickly began to pick up speed.

The wind was obviously stronger on the exposed river than it was in the heavily forested grounds of Jim's parent's house. The Fireball was running so tight to the wind that she very nearly capsized; that was until Janet threw herself out on the trapeze and John and Chris hung over the side of the dinghy with her and kept it running level and very fast.

"Alright; you win" Lucy conceded and she went back to the house with the intention of rustling up a couple of G&T's. It was one of the afternoon clock and the time of day when her in-laws took a little nap; she wouldn't have to endure her mother-in-law incessantly droning on about the slippery slope of the afternoon drinking; just as long as she could creep past her and liberate a lime from the fridge.

5

"So, what's the big secret? Whatís the big treat"? Chris asked as he tucked into his bones and the crispy fried duck that he had been forced to share with his Sister. The Fireball had performed so well today; as had her crew; and the children and adults alike were all in quite a state of euphoric exhaustion. It was only the sheer levels of MSG in the Chinese food that was keeping them going.

"Well; your Mother and I both thought that you might like to sail down to Sheep Island tomorrow and maybe camp out for the night" Jim suggested.

"Oh my God; are you pulling my plonker" Chris let slip before he actually realised just what his brain had told his mouth to say, such was his excitement.

"Aha; that is why you bought the firelighters and the big box of matches and all those tins of beans with the little sausages in them. Itís for our campfire dinner"! John realised.

"You didn't have to buy all those pairs of pants. John grew out of that sort of thing years ago" Chris joked.

"They just happened to be on special offer" Lucy told the kids. "And at the rate that you two boys are growing it's always good to have lots of pants that are just a bit too big".

"Can we call it a day on the pants talk now Mum"? Josh wondered. "What else do we have for our expedition"?

"Right then; we have the tent and the sleeping bags from home; we sneaked them into the car when you weren't looking" Jim told his children. "We have everything that you need to start a campfire - you will just have to root about for some larger logs when you are over there. The flashlight is on charge as we speak and your Mother managed to smuggle a cooking pot out of your Grandmother's kitchen that will hold a good few tins of beans with the little sausages in them. I will pick up some fresh bread and milk in the morning and we both think by then that you will be set for your own little adventure. Your Mother and I will endeavour to spend as much time in the pub as possible while you are away; because we can see Sheep Island from their patio window. But this is the deal" and Jim made sure that the children were listening.

"You sail down to the island on the outgoing tide; set up your camp; have as much fun as you can camping out; and then you sail back on the incoming tide and we shall see you at about five in the afternoon; by which point I will bet that you all will be aching for a nice hot bath and then we'll have dinner down the pub at seven".

"This is going to be the best holiday ever" said an ecstatic Janet.

"Thanks Dad" said Chris very sincerely.

"It's going to be bloody impossible to sleep tonight" Josh didn't doubt.

"Itís too early for bed. Letís go and get some paper and pencils ready so that we can map the island" Janet suggested.

"Yes; good idea" said John and the children excused themselves from the table before they rushed upstairs.

"Theyíll be alright, won't they" Lucy sort of questioned.

"Theyíre good kids; theyíre sensible in the boat and they care about one another. Theyíll be fine" Jim was quite sure. "I'm excited for them as well" Jim admitted. "I donít think that Iíll be able to sleep tonight, either" Jim admitted as winked and patted Lucy's bottom.

"Sex is out of the question just incase your parents hear us again and politely complain over their morning Bran Flakes" Lucy decided.

"I still have that bottle of Jack Daniels hidden in the hollow wall in our bedroom" Jim reminded Lucy.

"Do you know; our sex life must be pretty great if Jack Daniels still comes in second place after having three babies" Lucy was sure.