Project Firebird by Nick Green
Don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for.
Earth is on a deadly collision course that nothing can prevent.
The only real hope is Project Firebird, deep inside a blast-proof bunker that shelters the brightest and bravest young people. Leo has got mixed up with the likes of Rhys Carnarvon, the celebrated teenage polar explorer, and other child prodigies chosen to keep the flame of civilisation.
Among them is the streetwise Paige Harris, a girl Leo likes a lot (but not in that way). Paige is desperate to rescue her little sister from London before the catastrophe strikes. But no-one is crazy enough to try that. Almost no-one.
‘Some of the brightest young people on the planet. Yet not one of you can make a cup of tea.’ Paige twitched into life.
‘That ain’t true! We’re not all useless around the house. I’ll do it.’
‘Thank you,’ said David. ‘One cup of tea, please. But you must make it all by yourself. No-one can help.’
Paige rolled her eyes – as if! David called after her.
‘I do mean no-one, Paige. No-one at all. Anywhere or anywhen.’
She turned. ‘You what?’
‘Tea,’ said David. ‘Let’s go. First you’ll need water. Clean water. I don’t want to get diarrhoea. So find some. Remember, no help. Not from water companies, or plumbers, or bottle manufacturers. Just you. There’s a lake a few miles away, but streams might be safer. Either way, you’d better start walking now. Maybe take some food along.’
A few uneasy sniggers trailed off. Paige stopped halfway to the door, her face daring David to make fun of her. He continued, counting on his fingers.
‘Something to carry the water in, you’ll need that. A sturdy vessel to boil it in. Pottery is good.
Hunt for some clay while you’re out. Enough for a water pot, a teapot and a cup. Plus fuel of course. Wood for the fire. A bow-and-drill, or some other way of lighting it –’ ‘This ain’t fair!’ Paige exploded. David held up a hand. Now his smile was kind.
‘It’s all right, Paige. You can sit down. Sorry to put you on the spot.’
Nick Green lives in the UK. He is the author of seven fiction books to date, including the middle- grade CAT KIN trilogy published by Strident. His other books include THE STORM BOTTLE, a fantasy adventure about the dolphins of Bermuda, and most recently the FIREBIRD trilogy, a YA science fiction epic.
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