Fergus Crane (Far-flung Adventures)
Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell
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FERGUS CRANE! YOU ARE IN GREAT DANGER! I AM SENDING HELP. Signed T. C., your long-lost Uncle Theo Fergus Crane has an almost ordinary life - having lessons taught by rather odd teachers on the school ship Betty Jeanne, helping his mother in the bakery. But then a mysterious flying box appears at the window of his waterfront home - and Fergus is plunged headlong into an exciting adventure! The box is followed by a winged mechanical horse that whisks him off to meet his long-lost uncle and his penguin helpers, Finn, Bill and Jackson. Fergus finds out that his teachers are not quite what they seem - they're actually pirates! Can Fergus and his winged horse save his schoolmates from the far-off Fire Island? And who else will he find there...?
something. Ran up Miss Gumm's door frame. Won't come down. Cats will be cats.’ ‘Poor little bird!’ wailed Miss Gumm for a second time. ‘Quite a little show we've got down here,’ came a deep musical voice from the second floor. All eyes turned to the stairway. ‘Hello, everybody!’ Eugenie Beecham was making her entrance. She was dressed in a shimmering fishscale dress of iridescent green, topped off with a stunning coral tiara that sparkled with sequins. In one hand she carried a long trident;
following him. ‘Heave, blast you!’ Captain Claw screeched, his head back, his mouth grimacing, and every muscle in his body straining. ‘Blood and gunpowder!’ screeched Lizzie Blood as she, too, abruptly disappeared into the crater. ‘Pilchard stew!’ cried Short John Gilroy, joining her a moment after. ‘I … won't … let … go …’ Captain Claw snarled through clenched teeth. ‘The fire diamonds are mine … Aaaargh!’ he screamed as he followed the bucket and the other pirates over the edge and down,
along the narrow ledge, fire diamonds clinking and dropping to the ground as they brushed past. All at once, Fergus came to an abrupt halt. He could go no further. The ledge in front of him had fallen away. Far below, a great lake of molten lava seethed, belching out clouds of acrid smoke. ‘Fergus? Fergus, is that you?’ came Sylvie's tearful voice. ‘I'm stuck. I'm stuck, Fergus.’ On either side of her, the ledge had given way and Sylvie was marooned on the one narrow section that remained.
‘Don't do anything silly, Spike, that ledge could give way at any moment,’ she said. ‘Let Fergus handle this.’ Spike turned away and kicked the cavern wall with frustration. A shower of glittering fire diamonds cascaded down into the lava below. ‘I … I can't move,’ Sylvie wailed, tears streaming down her face. ‘My legs won't work.’ ‘Listen to me, Sylvie,’ Fergus called, trying to sound calm and reassuring. ‘You have to jump across to us. Horace and I will catch you. You must be very brave,
‘Oh, yes,’ came the reply, and his mother sat back, a faraway look in her eyes. She didn't seem sad; just wistful. ‘He brought me back macadacchio nuts from one of his voyages,’ she said, her voice soft, reflective. ‘Macadacchio nuts?’ Fergus whispered, eager to hear more, yet terrified of breaking the spell that seemed to have taken hold of his mother as the memories came flooding back. ‘Macadacchio nuts are the secret ingredient to the perfect Florentine,’ she said. ‘They're sweet but not