Tinder by Sally Gardner, published by Indigo on 7th November 2013
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?
Sally Gardner is one of those authors whose books I long for. I'm always excited when I hear that a new book written by her is being published and I'm always extremely eager to get my hands on it. With 'Tinder', Gardner has written a spellbinding story based around Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale 'The Tinderbox'. I actually have a really old book on my shelves which is the complete collection of tales by Anderson and which has been passed down through my family. One of the most well thumbed sections of the book is this exact fairy tale which has always been one of my favourites. I always loved the image of the dogs with eyes as big as saucers and the magical tinderbox which has the ability to grace the recipient with whatever his heart desires.
There are elements of the traditional version of the story here, but Gardner has also reinterpreted it in her own unique way. It is now set at the time of The Thirty Years war when soldier Otto Hundebiss is given a pair of shoes and a set of dice. These innocuous objects are set to change his future destiny as he embarks on a strange and mysterious new journey where he will have to face love and death and confront his own personal nightmares.
I thought 'Tinder' was wonderful. It's quirky and unusual and quite dark in places but it drew me in and kept me enthralled until the very end. It shows that fairy tales don't always have happy endings and that conflict, love and loss are faced by people in every walk of life.
I read a proof copy of the book but the final finished version features over 100 black and white images by illustrator David Roberts which accompany the text of the story. If you love Sally Gardner and have already read 'Tinder' then why not buy a copy for a friend or if you haven't yet discovered this amazing author then I implore you not to wait any longer and rush out and get yourself a copy today. You won't be disappointed!