BASED on the incredible true story of one elephant’s journey from Edinburgh to Manchester, a heart-pounding new historical novel for young people is published by Chicken House on Thursday.
The Elephant Thief, by Jane Kerr, tells the story of Maharajah the elephant’s long walk from Edinburgh to Manchester in 1872 - this year marks the 145th anniversary of the event.
A tale of resilience, overcoming adversity and achieving the impossible. At its heart lies an unlikely friendship between a boy and the elephant.
When pickpocket Danny accidentally bids for Maharajah the elephant at an Edinburgh auction, he’s swept up on an unforgettable journey.
His new employer, a zookeeper, transforms Danny into a bejewelled Indian prince.
As he rides Maharajah from Scotland to his new home in England, even Queen Victoria follows their journey with delight.
But a rival zookeeper wagers on their failure, and soon Danny’s shady connections threaten to overturn the mission …
Maharajah’s incredible story is well-known in Manchester where his skeleton can still be found in Manchester Museum, and there are nods to him throughout the city.
Kerr’s debut novel - the author has previously worked as a speech therapist and journalist and is currently a producer with BBC Radio Manchester - it’s a book she says she felt compelled to write, mainly because the real story kept cropping up in her life.
“You’ll experience tears of rage, wonder and joy as this classic tale of hope against all the odds transports you to another time,” promises publisher Barry Cunningham.
The Elephant Thief, published by Chicken House, Thursday, £6.99, Ages 9+