There is humour and sadness, treachery and friendship, historical fact and spooky fiction entwined in the closely woven plot of Printer's Devil
"Beautifully conceived and written...especially for those who like mysteries." The School Librarian
"A gripping read..." Sarah Lawson
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
At a time when we are constantly hearing that young people, brought up as part of the internet generation, are turning their backs on old-fashioned books as a source of entertainment, Rex Andrew's novel, Printer's Devil, is to be welcomed as a splendid advertisement for the sheer pleasure of book reading. Although a slim volume aimed primarily at the teen and pre-teen market, Printer's Devil offers a gripping plot that is packed with enough fascinating historical facts to widen its appeal to readers of all ages. The story recounts the fortunes (or misfortunes) of Tom Slim, a 14-year-old who is taken on as a 'printer's devil' - a trainee printer - towards the end of World War II. Strange things, however, are occurring at the print works resulting in Tom being accused of making mistakes and threatened with redundancy. At first Tom puts these down solely to a 'demon' that is haunting the works. But as the plot unravels it becomes clear that that there is another reason underlying his woes. This plot, containing both supernatural as well as humorous elements, is set in a wonderfully evocative 1940s world, painting a picture of life during that era that should fascinate any reader, young and old. The details about living during the war - rationing, the bombing, D-Day, VE-Day - are hugely instructive without seeming to have the heavy didacticism of traditional history books. The war aside, however, there are broader elements of social history that should interest and surprise most young readers. The simple fact, for example, that Tom leaves school at 14 and gets a job, might come as a shock to a generation that is encouraged to continue its studies until at least 18-years old. On a more nostalgic note, perhaps, especially for those of us who remember printing before computers took over, are the descriptions of the printing works - with compositors using tools that are rarely seen today and having to learn to read upside-down and back-to-front - that beautifully conjure up a pre-Wapping era when the skills of printers were truly valued. However, as much as these nuggets of information are fascinating, Printer's Devil is a page-turning tale that will bring pleasure to readers of all ages and, will certainly show younger readers that books can be as exciting and entertaining as any computer game.