"Unknown man found shot" said the newspaper headline. Alasdair recognised the man he had met on the train to Skye, the man who had slipped him a desperate last message "Hunt at the Hill of the Red Fox M15".Alasdair finds the Hill of the Red Fox on Skye, but the note still makes no sense. Nor at first do most of the strange and dangerous goings on on the island, many of which involve Alasdair's sinister uncle, Murdo Beaton. There is much more than the odd bit of poaching happening - nuclear scientists and their secrets are disappearing. People are not always what they seem. Whom can Alasdair really trust? In finding out he uncovers a web of espionage - and all its perils!
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It is the time of the Cold War. Soviet spies are feared, and secrets are traded. People disappear. Thirteen-year-old Alasdair, living in London, knows nothing of this world. He can't wait to start his long summer holiday on the Isle of Skye, away from his mother and aunt. But things don't go quite as planned. On the journey, a stranger gives him a mysterious note before jumping from the train. Worse still, he instantly mistrusts sinister Murdo Beaton, with whom he's staying. Gradually adjusting to crofting life, Alasdair is not prepared for the web of danger and espionage that unfolds around him. Can he trust anyone?Review:
'This is a boy's adventure book. It is set on Skye in Scotland and brilliantly brings to life the islands, countryside and people. It is nicely paced and the adventures in it are a cross between Enid Blyton and a young Bond.' -- Sophie, age 13, Education Otherwise 'Allan Campbell McLean set a standard for thrillers for young readers and The Hill of the Red Fox has stood the test of time remarkably well, even allowing for the Soviet vs West Cold War background. Actually, the slight sense of innocence surrounding things is an attraction.' -- School Librarian 'A magnificent adventure story. It recalls Stevenson and Buchan ... the reader should be swept away by the swift narrative, the splendid vision and the magical atmosphere of Skye which pervades the story." -- Times Literary Supplement 'The Ordinance Survey sheet of North Skye will be a stimulating aid to the reading of this novel, which has the same lovingly detailed location as McLean's later The Master of Morgana. It is an espionage thriller strongly influenced by The Thirty-Nine Steps and with tinges of the early Ian Fleming. The story, which is mainly one of male fellowship and strength, climaxes violently in the self-sacrifice of Duncan Mor, a man of Fingalian heroic stature and character. The crofting environment is integral to the action, with sympathetic descriptions of communal activities such as peat gathering, mackerel fishing and sheep shearing.' -- Treasure Islands: A guide to Scottish fiction for young readers aged 10-14
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