THE BATTLEFIELD by William Mayne


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While you're waiting for something to happen, there's Leslie and Debby for company. ""We're ornaments,"" they tell Mum and Dad, not meaning decorative but diverting, and Mum yearns for the time when they could be tucked into crib and cot, and Dad grumbles that ""no good will come of it."" What he means he's not quite sure, but no good does come when the two extend their explorations into the Battlefield overlooking the town, domesticate the tower, and start digging. ""Dig anywhere, you'll find something,"" Dad remarks of their first find, a strangely marked stone, a strangely marked stone, in what is typical of the laconic attitude of the townspeople. Next to emerge from the morass is a cannon leaving a deep pool, and the stone supporting the tower begins to shift and one dark night when Leslie and Debby are aboard the whole of the Battlefield moves in a gigantic roar down the hill toward the town... The descent is all tension and excitement, the previous incidents only flickers in the daily round of dodging and sabotaging chores, cadging tips in the bar of the Inn, exasperating and amusing their elders and each other. Regardless of what the Battlefield means--you can draw your own conclusions--you'll recognize Leslie and Debby right away; they're acutely perceived and rendered with the humor and vitality of childhood intact.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1967
Publisher: Dutton