Vango: Between Sky and Earth

Timothee De Fombelle

Vango: Between Sky and Earth
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Vango: Between Sky and Earth

Timothee De Fombelle

This is a gripping mystery-adventure set in the 1930s interwar period about a character desperately searching for his identity. Raised by a strange nanny in Sicily, Vango grows up with one friend, a priest Zefiro, who lives in a monastery hidden from sight. On reaching adulthood, Vango decides to follow in Zefiro’s steps, but at the moment he is taking his holy orders at Notre Dame in Paris, he is falsely accused of a crime and has to go on the run.

This is a breathless and highly cinematic story that follows Vango travelling by Zeppelin across Europe from Stromboli to Nazi Germany, from Scotland to the Soviet Union, climbing the rooftops of Paris, crossing the paths of arms traffickers, crooked policemen, Russian spies and even Stalin. De Fombelle invites English readers to view a familiar period of history with fresh eyes.

Review

I’ll admit it, I had misgivings about this book; I couldn’t see how the story of a novice priest’s ordination would be relevant to a young adult. But from the moment our hero nimbly scales the heights of the Notre Dame Cathedral, I was hooked. Vango is a compelling adventure that begins in Paris in 1934 and sweeps across Europe, Russia and South America, weaving real historical characters, places and events into a young man’s quest for the truth. Pursued by sinister figures for a crime he did not commit, Vango must uncover the secrets of his mysterious childhood by seeking out a cast of cryptic characters.

As I breathlessly raced through the final pages I realised this story was far from over. Vango’s quest for answers left me with even more questions. But I know one thing for sure: when the sequel is published in 2014, I will have no such misgivings. Highly recommended.


Athina Clarke is a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Malvern.

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