12 year old Jack Crawford is the only person who can save his dad’s life. Trouble is he’s trapped thousands of miles away in a remote Scottish boarding school. He needs help but his new classmates are a bunch of spoiled, lazy, resentful pre-teens.
Bryce: Ruthless leader. Likes rules. Hates losers.
Holly: Fearless Head Master’s daughter. Likes trouble.
Rishi: Likes computers. Hates trouble.
Sergei: Neglected billionaire’s son. Likes marshmallows.
Boyd: Bored Texan giant. Likes girls. All of them.
With time running out, Jack must forge this bunch of misfits into The Invincibles, a crack team of daring escapologists, whip-smart cryptographers, cunning App programmers and robotic engineers. But will The Invincibles risk everything for Jack?
Can they overcome their worst fears, face a ghost, crack a secret code, unmask a traitor, evade a trained killer and when the time comes…
…seize complete control of their school?
Targeted Age Group:: 10-12
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I really wanted to write an exciting children’s book in which the heroes didn’t require magic, guns or violence to save the day. I’m also really into kids learning skills at an early age and anything that encourages them to learn more about, say, coding and engineering can only be a good thing. I also really like children’s stories where there are no wise old mentors. i.e. the kids must make their own mistakes, live with their mistakes and make amends accordingly.
The behaviour and attitude of the key baddy towards the children is absolutely true and for me, to this day, he remains utterly baffling…
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The baddies were easy as all of them are (were) very real indeed. Actually, all the adult characters are pretty much based on strong childhood memories. But I do I think its important that kids learn the motivations of those people who may thwart their wishes… ie. people who are mean to them, obstructive or aloof usually have their own reasons entirely.
Highlands of Scotland
“Oh Muuuuum! No way… No waaaay. Mum? Pleeeeease?”
Jack squirmed lower into his seat as he peered through the battling windscreen wipers, straining to catch another glimpse of the place where he was to eat and sleep for the next 10 weeks. A five-hour drive – for this?
There! Through the torrential rain, and a break in the oppressive wall of trees, he spotted the building again; then it was gone, obscured by a grand sign:
Welcome to Ardmillan Preparatory School
For boys aged 7–13
On seeing the welcome sign, Jack’s mum slammed her foot down hard and their brand-new BMW X5 4×4 roared up the narrow, winding, rhododendron-lined driveway. Jack glanced sideways. This wasn’t like her. It was dusk. She was driving as if she’d driven up here a hundred times before. Jack held his breath around every blind bend, until suddenly, a vast sprawling, sandstone mansion loomed up ahead of them.
Bleak. Imposing. Dark. So dark that it seemed as if all the remaining sunlight in the world was draining down into some vast plughole deep in the bowels of the school. And cold too. Real cold. He could just tell. Jack shivered. He hated being cold. It was the kind of building that in the city would probably have all its windows broken… and deserve it, smirked Jack.
But when his mum’s breathing became shallow and the BMW slowed to a tortuous crawl, as if it too was afraid of what lay ahead, his stomach churned in dread. Jack stared at his new home, then recoiled in horror.
Ardmillan School was staring right back at him. Two giant eyes – illuminated arched windows – set on either side of a gaping black entrance porch.
Jack felt his heart rate shoot up; his eyesight began to blur… He really didn’t need one of his panic attacks right now. Please not now.
Run! Run! Run! his heart screamed. Where? Where? Where? his feverish mind yelled back. They’d seen nothing but mountains and a few lonely sheep in the previous 30 miles.
“You have got to be kidding!” Jack’s pleading eyes implored his mum to U-turn immediately. But Mrs Crawford was now nervous too, and parking the car required her full attention.
In desperation Jack turned to his sleepy little sister in the back seat – five-year-old Milly, cuddled up to Apollo, the family’s dopey black Labrador. Right. Like they could help him. He spun back to face his mum. But Mrs Crawford couldn’t bear to look at him, or the school.
Jack’s mum could have been a fashion model once, if she’d ever wanted to. Jack and Milly had both inherited her refined features: intelligent blue eyes, striking blonde hair and ice-cool defiance. But Jack was scruffy, and proud of it. He didn’t care what other people thought. Anyway, he knew how much effort his mum put into appearing cool, cultivated and chic. Who had that kind of time? It was all an illusion anyway. She only wore her hair tight to stop herself fiddling with it, and those Dior sunglasses she was wearing, even now in the Scottish gloom, they were to prevent anyone seeing her tears.
“Mum? Pleeeeease?” he pleaded one last time.
Jack’s mum shook her head.
“Sorry, Jack. It’s too late. We’re here now.” She swallowed and gripped the steering wheel, struggling to control herself.
“Look baby, it’s only for 10 weeks.” She whispered so her voice didn’t crack. “It’s only until the…until…until it’s all over.”
She couldn’t say the words out loud. Neither of them could. They couldn’t even think them.
Jack shuddered, then drove the vile feelings deep, deep down into the darkest dungeon of his mind from where they’d escaped.
Only 10 weeks left! At which point, one way or the other, it really would all be over. Jack’s stomach clenched. He knew that date better than anyone alive. His mum certainly didn’t need to remind him, as if it was just his granny’s birthday or something. June 26th was seared into his brain forever.
At least he was trying to do something about it. No matter where they sent him, Jack Crawford, aged 12, always had a Plan.
About the Author:
JW Patrick lives in Scotland and has written documentary voice-over scripts for television in the UK and USA but mostly writes corporate materials and has recently completed, as ghost writer, several biographies. I have two children and while researching my book on outdoor education, I managed to tip my daughter out of tour kayak.
My other books include:
Why Have Adventures?
A non-fiction book for parents of teens exploring the lifelong benefits of outdoor education
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy The Invincibles Print Edition at Amazon
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