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Danger On Glass Island


     author: Alan Ross
illustrator: Raymond Briggs
publisher: Hamish Hamilton / Antelope Books
                 95 pages
                 38 b/w illustrations

'It's the smugglers, we've discovered the
smugglers' cave, this is where they make
the secret whisky...'

Briggs illustrates this old-fashioned adventure focusing on a secret rocket
station on a Scottish island. Fergus and Jonathan take a night ride on a patrol
boat. They help intercept some spies masquerading as whisky smugglers...

Here's a Boys Own tale set in a Scotland that doesn't really exist anymore.
The folk are all cheery, they all like a wee dram, the fishermen are jolly, the
women all wear tartan skirts and cook 'traditional' Scottish food. The location
of the book, though, is very real. We are taken north to Gairloch and Gruinard
Bay on the north-west coast where young Jonathan and his Scottish friend 
Fergus stumble upon the whisky smugglers and spies from an  unnamed country.
Of course, no one gets hurt, ne'er a word is cursed in anger and 'those pesky
kids' save the day, but the story is tidy and not at all overlong and the
old-fashioned flavours take you back to an altogether jollier, more
innocent era...

Trivia Hounds will note the terribly British Civil Servant in this scotch-fueled
tale is called Johnnie Walker (yes, it's that kind of book...)

Briggs draws brilliant, moonlit vignettes out from his cross-hatching.
If you look closely, many elements are defined purely by bolder hatching
rather than specific designated outlines. It's hugely atmospheric...

The cover scan is taken from a 1972 Scholastic Publication.
Raymond Briggs and Alan Ross teamed up at least three
times during this 'early period'.

See also: The Onion Man
                The Wreck Of Moni


  all copyright belongs to Raymond Briggs and his publishers