The Sultan's Tigers

Overview

As in the middle grade series debut Island of Thieves, scrappy twelve-year-old Tom Trelawney and his swashbuckling Uncle Harvey are a dynamite combination—in the dangerous, explosive sort of way. This time around, they impulsively fly from Ireland to India in hot pursuit of a small bejeweled tiger that yet another Trelawney, a British soldier, allegedly plundered in 1799. They’re pretty sure they can get a couple million dollars for it too, if they can make it past a gun-happy Aussie and a pit of ...
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The Sultan's Tigers

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Overview

As in the middle grade series debut Island of Thieves, scrappy twelve-year-old Tom Trelawney and his swashbuckling Uncle Harvey are a dynamite combination—in the dangerous, explosive sort of way. This time around, they impulsively fly from Ireland to India in hot pursuit of a small bejeweled tiger that yet another Trelawney, a British soldier, allegedly plundered in 1799. They’re pretty sure they can get a couple million dollars for it too, if they can make it past a gun-happy Aussie and a pit of man-eating tigers.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A] rip-roaring adventure."
Kirkus

"Hand this fun adventure series to future fans of Clive Cussler."
Booklist

"A rollicking story that works as a stand alone and is a great choice for reluctant readers, especially those looking for books with male protagonists."
School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Tom Trelawney is twelve years old and already has had amazing adventures. Earlier in the year Tom, and his uncle Hank, had searched in Peru for hidden gold purported to belong to Sir Francis Drake. That treasure hunt did not result in fame and fortune for the Trelawney family but now Uncle Hank is back in the picture and once again the stakes are very high. Tom and Uncle Hank set off for India armed with a very indirect description (from a long dead relative) of where a jeweled tiger statue worth over two million dollars might be. Once in India the Trelawneys must deal with the vagaries of a foreign culture, a maniacal Australian thug who seems bent on harming them, and a billionaire who may not be all he purports to be. In their efforts to find the "Sultan's Tiger" Tom and Uncle Hank face death, burn down an ancient temple, and confront man eating tigers. In the end they may not achieve the wealth they hoped for but they do lead life with the pedal to the metal. The Sultan's Tigers is a fast paced adventure story that takes readers on a breakneck journey in search of hidden treasure. While this book will appeal to readers who fancy cliffhangers it does have some weaknesses. Plot situations always seem to resolve themselves in ways that can stretch the credulity of the reader. Similarly, characters periodically make decisions that seem farfetched and improbable. The end result of these factors is a book that moves along like an express train but loses some momentum when the final eighty pages lead the reader to its conclusion. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
Gr 4–7—In this follow-up to Island of Thieves (Houghton Harcourt, 2012), Tom Trelawney once more finds himself on a quest with his daring yet morally ambiguous Uncle Harvey. This time, the pair is reunited on the occasion of Tom's grandfather's death. When the boy is threatened by a mysterious man named Marko, he learns of some letters written by his Trelawney ancestor describing the location of a stolen tiger statue (based on the real-life "sultan's tigers" in Mysore, India)-worth two million dollars. Tom and Uncle Harvey embark on a race to get to the statue before Marko, both to satisfy the Trelawney love for adventure and to cover Uncle Harvey's debts. Fast-paced action is to be expected from this title, which has compelling, movie-poster-like cover art, but there's a lot more to it than that. As Tom explores India for the first time, he learns about the current state of affairs, especially the level of poverty afflicting the region. What could have just been an exotic thrill ride turns into a reflection on American privilege. The Sultan's Tigers is a rollicking story that works as a stand alone and is a great choice for reluctant readers, especially those looking for books with male protagonists.—Jessica Ko, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
In Island of Thieves (2012), Tom Trelawney took off with his uncle Harvey to Peru in search of lost treasure, guided by the diaries of buccaneer Sir Francis Drake. Now they're off again. Being the middle kid in a normal Connecticut family may be one reason 12-year-old Tom is always acting out…or perhaps he takes more after his roguish uncle and grandfather than anyone realized. In Ireland to attend his grandfather's funeral, Tom is grounded and must remain at home alone. He's not bored for long, however. A stranger breaks into the house, looking for some hidden letters that Tom's grandfather had agreed to sell him. In no time at all, Tom brokers a deal with the intruder himself, then finds the 200-year-old letters. They are from a Trelawney ancestor to his wife, telling her of the fabulous treasure he has stolen and stashed away for her in India. Uncle Harvey is only too eager to finance the expedition to retrieve it, as he's in need of some new treasure himself or he will fall foul of some pretty unscrupulous characters from his past. With villains hot on their trail, they head for the nearest airport. All plot, the story presents engaging, if totally reckless lead characters; Tom's encounters with the abject poor of India provide opportunity for thought for both him and readers. Lessons both social and geographic are laid on lightly in this rip-roaring adventure. (Adventure. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544336292
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 960,531
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Josh Lacey worked as a journalist, a screenwriter, and a teacher before writing his first book for children, A Dog Called Grk (writing under the name of Joshua Doder). He lives in London with his wife and daughter. Visit his website at www.joshlacey.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

My name is Tom Trelawney and I come from a long line of liars, cheats, crooks, bandits, thieves, and smugglers.
   That’s what my uncle says, anyway.
   I’d like to believe him, but if our family consists entirely of criminals, what went wrong with my dad? He’s probably the most honest person on the planet.
   “He’s not a real Trelawney,” says Uncle Harvey. “Not like you and me.”
   According to my uncle, our family originally came from a small village in Cornwall, a rugged corner of England that sticks out into the Atlantic, pointing like a finger at America. The Trelawneys called themselves fishermen, but they actually made their living by piracy, smuggling illegal goods ashore and hiding them in the caves that riddle the Cornish coast.
   My grandfather was a real Trelawney too.
   He wasn’t a pirate or a smuggler, but he never did an honest day’s work in his life. He was always running from someone, always searching for a place to hide, and he left a trail of enemies all around the world.
   I never really knew him. I wish I had.
   We only saw Grandpa once a year, sometimes even less. The last time he came to the States for Christmas, he drank too much wine and had a big argument with Dad.
   Ten months later, he was dead.
   He had a heart attack while watching TV, and that was that, kaput, he was gone.
   “A good death,” my mom called it, and perhaps she’s right, although it’s not exactly what I’d call a good death. What’s wrong with being gnawed to pieces by piranhas? Or flung from a plane without a parachute? If Grandpa had died like that, I really would have been proud of him. But he died sitting in his recliner, slumped in front of the TV, according to the neighbor who found him, so maybe that really was a good death.
   Grandpa had lived all over the world, but he spent the last few years of his life in a small village on the west coast of Ireland. We arrived in Shannon at dawn on the morning of the funeral. (By “we,” I mean me, my mom, my dad, my little bro, Jack, and my big sister, Grace.) Dad rented a bright blue Ford Focus at the airport and drove us across the country to Grandpa’s village.
   Not many people came to the funeral: just us and a few neighbors.
   Halfway through the service, the door squeaked open and Uncle Harvey stumbled down the aisle. “Sorry I’m late,” he whispered loudly enough for everyone to hear. The vicar gave him a stern look and carried on with the sermon. Uncle Harvey grinned at us and slid into a pew on the other side of the church. I grinned back while Dad gave him a dirty look. They might be brothers, but they don’t like each other much.
   I was looking forward to talking to my uncle. Earlier in the year, we had traveled to Peru together, hunting down a stash of buried gold that had belonged to Sir Francis Drake. Later, back in the U.S., we’d been given dinner at the Peruvian embassy, but I hadn’t seen my uncle since. I wanted to know if he’d had any more adventures. Had he been chased by crooks? Threatened by thugs? Or beat up? Had he stolen anything? Or cheated anyone? Even after spending a week with my uncle in Peru, I didn’t know very much about his life, but I knew one thing for sure: it was a lot more interesting than mine.
   The ceremony concluded with prayers, then we shuffled into the graveyard and stood in line to shake hands with the vicar. When my turn came, the vicar smiled down at me and said in his warm Irish accent, “So which of the grandsons are you? Are you Jack or are you Tom?”
   “I’m Tom.”
   “Ah, the famous Tom. Your grandfather told me all about you. He said you were full of mischief. Is that true?”
   “I suppose so.”
   “He also said he saw himself in you. I can see what he meant.”
   “Really?” I said. “What else did he say?”
   “Oh, this and that. Maybe I’ll tell you when you’re a bit older.” Chuckling, the vicar let go of my hand and grabbed the next in line, which happened to belong to Uncle Harvey. “Your father was a lovely man,” the vicar said. “You must be missing his presence.”
   “I’ve heard him called a lot of things,” said Uncle Harvey. “But never lovely. Maybe he was lovelier to you than he was to us.”
   The vicar looked a bit nervous, not wanting to say the wrong thing. “I didn’t know your father well, but we thought of him as a valued member of the community.”
   “Did you really?” Uncle Harvey sounded surprised. “So he didn’t steal any of your silver? Or flog your hymn books on eBay?”
   “Actually, we did have a  few  things  go  missing,”  said the vicar. Then he noticed that my uncle was smiling. “Ah! You’re having a joke with me, aren’t you?”
   “I’m so sorry,” said Uncle Harvey. “I can’t help myself.” “Even in times of trouble, it’s good to have a smile on
   your face.” The vicar beamed and moved to talk to the next person in line.
   As my uncle and I walked through the churchyard, he winked at me. I winked back. Now we knew how Grandpa had been supplementing his pension.
   Uncle Harvey said, “How’s life, kid?”
   “It’s OK. A little boring. How’s yours?”
   “I would say it’s good, but my dad’s just died so I probably shouldn’t. How often did you see the old man?”
   “Not very often,” I replied. “He sometimes visited us for Christmas. But he and Dad always ended up arguing.”
   “He argued with everyone. That was just his way.” “Did you argue with him too?”
   “All the time,” said Uncle Harvey. “But we always made up again. He was like that. We’d get drunk together and have a big row, then forget all about it the next day. It’s a pity you won’t get to know him better. Did you ever come and stay with him?”
   “Dad wouldn’t let me. I don’t know why not.” “I do,” said Uncle Harvey.
   “Yeah? Why?”
   “He knows that as far as he’s concerned, the Trelawney genes skipped a generation. You’re more like your grandfather than your father. He must have been worried about what would happen if the two of you ever got together. Just like he’s worried about the two of us. And he’s right, isn’t he? Ah, hello, Simon. How are you?”
   Simon is my dad. He didn’t look particularly pleased to see his brother, but maybe he was just feeling sad. I guess you would feel sad if your father died, even if the two of you had furious arguments whenever you happened to be in the same room at the same time.
   The brothers shook hands. Then Uncle Harvey kissed my mom on both cheeks and said hello to Jack and Grace.
   “I’ve invited the vicar to join us for lunch,” my father said to Harvey. “Can you give him a lift in your car? There isn’t much room in ours.”
   “Sure. Where are we going?”
   “I’ve booked a table at a restaurant on the coast. Apparently it’s very good. You can follow me there.”
   “Great. I’ll go and get the vicar.”
   Once Uncle Harvey was striding across the churchyard, Dad turned to me. “Here are the keys to Grandpa’s house. We’ll see you there in a couple of hours.”
   I took the keys and stared stupidly at my father. “Why are you giving me these?”
   “Because you’re going to go to the house.” “What am I supposed to do there?”
   “Whatever you like. Read a book, play a game. It’s up to you.”
   “What about lunch?” “What about lunch?”
   “Why can’t I come to lunch?” “You know why not.” “Because I’m grounded?” “Exactly.”
   “But this is Grandpa’s funeral! You’ve got to let me come to the lunch!”
   “I’m afraid not, Tom. You’re grounded.” “That’s so unfair!”
   “You should have thought about that before you stole the golf cart. We’ll be a couple of hours. See you later.”
   “Dad—”
   “Don’t ‘Dad’ me.” “But, Dad—”
   “I said don’t ‘Dad’ me.” 
   “But, Dad, it’s just not fair.”
   “See you later,” said my father, showing not a trace of sympathy. “Go on. Go to the house.”
   Grace tried to argue on my behalf, which was nice of her, and Jack said he wouldn’t mind staying with me, which was nice of him, too, but Dad asked if they both wanted to be grounded as well, and of course they didn’t. He told them to go to the car. Grace grinned at me and Jack gave me a thumbs-up, then they sloped away. Dad turned back to me. “I’m sorry, Tom. I don’t like doing this. I wish there were some other way. But you’ve really given me no choice.”
   I looked at my dad for a moment. Then I said, “You’re an idiot.”
   His face turned red and he told me never to talk to him like that, and Mom said I should remember where I was, but I didn’t care. I turned my back on my parents and walked away, their angry voices following me out of the graveyard.

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