Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Trending YA book news – after vampires… beasts of war.

Following the thundering successes of Warhorse (film) and Soldier Dog (book), it is reported publishers are to fight a three-corner battle for rights to the first in a bilogy of tales based on true stories of animals at war.

Cher Ami, the fast moving story of the plucky carrier-pigeon, in the only untold tale of the ‘Lost Battalion’, who won the Croix deGuerre with Palm. In October 1918, 194 American soldiers were trapped by Germans in the forest of Argonne, cut off behind the lines without a radio. Refusing to surrender, the trapped men fastened their co-ordinates to Cher Ami, who flew 25 miles in 25 minutes to American headquarters, despite being shot in the chest. The Americans launched a rescue mission and the soldiers were saved.

Second in this series of tales of animals in war is War Boar, the heartbreaking tale of a young Greek swineherd, Thura, and his boar, Kapros, who saved his city from certain destruction during the siege of Megara by Antigonus II Gonatas in 266BC.
Growing up together on the plains of the Isthmus of Corinth, Thura formed a unique bond with Kapros, the the one-eyed boar he saved from slaughter as a piglet. Retreating to the city as the siege got under way, Thura had his pet boar and herd of sows snatched by a group of desperate soldiers who poured pitch on them and set alight to them as they drove them out of the city gates towards the massed elephants of Antigonas’ army. The squealing of the flaming pigs terrified the elephants who ran amok, creating havoc among the troops and breaking up the siege, saving the city.

(Editor’s note: before readers write to complain they have a right to complain, it should be noted both stories are essentially true.)

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