Title: The Secret Animal Society
Author: Luke Gamble
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: 1st April 2022
Synopsis: A thrilling magical adventure, perfect for animal lovers! The debut novel from real-life vet Luke Gamble, as seen on Sky TV.‘ An irresistible, magical adventure’ Vashti Hardy, author of Wildspark When Edith Wight is sent to spend the summer with her eccentric uncle, she has no idea what is in store. Her uncle, the Doctor, runs a vet practice in a remote part of the New Forest, shrouded in secrecy. The reason for the mystery surrounding it, Edith discovers, is none other than the protection of some of the Earth’s most unusual animals – creatures that most believe only exist in folklore. Then the Doctor receives a summons from the Himalayas to help a family of yetis and Edith finds herself on the voyage of a lifetime. But Edith and the Doctor are not the only ones taking an interest in the yetis… The Doctor’s old enemies, the Syndicate are on a mission to hunt down every last mythical creature on Earth.
- As seen on prime-time Sky TV shows Vet Adventure and World Wide Vet, vet Luke Gamble is committed to the protection of animals worldwide.
- Classic storytelling combined with a passionate message about the protection of endangered species.
- The stunning first book in a new series for fans of Dr Doolittle, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club.
Edith Wight is waiting for her parents to pick her up from St Montefiore’s School for Girls for the summer when she finds out she is going to be spending her summer with her eccentric uncle, the Doctor, a vet who lives in New Forest and treats all kinds of animals – the most unusual animals like a Pegasus and other animals that exist in folklore. Edith also suffers from headaches and fainting spells that nobody has ever been able to explain before, but her arrival at Pilgrim Vets Practice might change that as she discovers a special talent that allows her to communicate with animals, and help her uncle. Soon, they’re summoned to the Himalayas to help a family of yetis – but they’re not alone. A sinister poaching group called the Syndicate – led by Arabella Spearstrike – is there too and determined to poach the yetis and every mythical creature they can find. It is up to Edith and the Doctor to protect the creatures – find out what is making them sick and stop the Syndicate killing everyone.
This rollicking new adventure, written by a vet, captures the wonder of the mythical animal world and tackles issues of poaching, animal cruelty, and the importance of family and connection. I fell into this world from page one, delighting in the mysterious vet clinic and Edith’s special talent as she got to know the creatures Gerry and Arnold, and was able to help her uncle, though he was reluctant at first – his reasons why become clearer later and the narrative is also driven by Edith’s missing parents, and the hope that they will be found, as I think this is going to be a series because some threads weren’t completely sewn up, and left dangling – giving us a nice ending with a bit of a lead-in to a second novel at least. The characters in this novel are fun and mysterious, and I loved the total acceptance of all characters of the existence of the yetis – it is the kind of novel where you can just believe anything because it is. It proved that believing is magical and that anything is possible – I loved this novel, and it is the sort of thing I would have devoured as a kid as well as now.
Everything was revealed as it needed to be, and even though the story is presumably set in current times, it has a feeling of timelessness, as though it could exist decades ago, and be part of older traditions but combined with all the relevant things kids like in books today. I fell into this book as well – it captured magic, family, whimsy, and adventure in a delightful and fun way. And it allows readers to imagine themselves going on the adventure. All the characters are fabulous, and I think they’re all very well-written, and exist wonderfully together. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Luke comes up with! Magic and animals are a perfect combination, and I love seeing the many different ways authors write stories that perhaps start with the same concept. But each story is its own unique entity and I get something new out of each story. A great novel that I hope readers will enjoy.