Author: Nick Gifford
RRP 5.99
ISBN 0 141 31732 9
Available 05 January 2006

Liam is an ordinary fifteen year old teenager, or so he thinks. Returning home from the boarding school that he attends, Liam finds his home trashed and his parents missing. In the days that follow, Liam's life and his understanding of reality are tested and torn apart. As he slowly pieces his life together Liam discovers that he too has a secret, a secret that could be dangerous to him and others...

Erased is the new book by Nick Gifford, who also writes more adult novels under the name of Keith Brooke. Published by Puffin Books, the novel is aimed squarely at the male teenage market.

Its basic premise, of a young man who holds powers of which he is unaware and who has a destiny, is as old as the hills. To a more adult well-read audience this may seem like just another rerun of that old chestnut. As this isn't the target audience, it may not be a problem for this book.

The book is well written with some nicely rounded characterisations, but you can't help but get the feeling that there is not enough that is original in the book. I kept reading passages and thinking that the background and plot lines were too reminiscent of other novels and films. Still, there is often little that is truly original these days.

Gifford does a good job at engaging the reader in Liam's journey of discovery. The villains aren't of the pantomime type, so that suspense is maintained throughout. One really good element of the book is the level of paranoia which Gifford sets up in the book. The continual messing with Liam's head is a good plot device which allows the author to release information, whilst at the same time making the reader question its voracity.

So, not a great book, but then any novel that encourages young people to start reading science fiction can't be all bad, moreover it's set in England and not a lot of Sci-Fi can say that.

Charles Packer

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