Lorraine Gregory’s debut ‘Mold and the Poison Plot’ is an absolute joy to read, filled with so much humour, bravery and heart, that you can’t help being enchanted by this magical tale. Meet Mold, a boy who was dumped by his Mum in a dustbin as a baby. An unusual boy who even the binmen didn’t want, not being fair enough to sell at the rag market with his scraggy hair and huge nose. Luckily for him, old Aggy found him at the dump and took him under her wing. She harnesses his special gift of smell to find customers that need help, who he then sends to Aggy who sells them potions to remedy their ails. One day Mold’s life is turned upside down when Aggy is arrested, accused of poisoning the King with a special tonic. With no where else to turn, Mold must find a way to prove her innocence before it’s too late. But in a world filled with deadly baddies and hideous monsters how can he hope to succeed?
Lorraine has created this truly believable world of magic and mayhem in Pellegarno. It is magical realism at it’s very best, making you feel totally involved in the story as you’re transported into the heart of this new land. She manages to bring it to life in the most unexpected ways primarily through Mold and his nose, who take us with him on an perilous journey allowing us to gain an true insight into the lives of the people. His amazing power of smell helps him to understand individuals true character which comes in very handy when he’s trying to distinguish good from evil as he tries to complete his dangerous mission. In the case of the dark and menancing baddie – who has got Aggy and Mold mixed up in this terrible plot – he has an overwhelming disgusting pong that reveals his true nature and this helps to warn Mold when he is nearby. Your senses are tantalised as Mold travels beyond the comfort of his home to an unknown city in search of the truth, uncovering secrets along the way.
The characterisation in the story is just wonderful. Our young hero Mold is an unlikely but remarkable hero who has to face the most extreme adversity and trials to try and save Aggy from the hangman and his noose. Despite this he refuses to give up and his loyalty to her is wonderfully endearing and heart warming. Fergus has to be one of my most favourite characters, his unwavering enthusiasm – having found a friend in Mold – and determination to support him in his endeavours is just incredible. I just can’t resist a despicable baddie and Lorraine satisfies my appetite with some truly menacing and loathsome individuals who go to incredible lengths to upset Mold’s attempts to rescue Aggy. An exciting and vibrant story filled with twists, turns and drama at every turn. Just when you think you know what is going to happen next, Lorraine manages to surprise you with this remarkable plot. A wonderful tale about friendship, loyalty and learning to accept yourself for who you are, I absolutely loved it.
Thank you to OUP for sending me a copy of this marvellous book. ‘Mold and the Posion Plot’ is released on May 4th and is available to pre-order from all good bookshops.