the close of the trilogy…
‘I always conceived the series as a three-term affair,’ says Andy, and he had a very strong vision for the final chapter. ‘The heroes have come a long way, and enjoyed themselves so much. Against all the odds, they have a school, and whilst they’ve never had a time-table and hardly a book…they’ve had an education to die for. I guess they have nearly died in getting it, too.’
So, yes, it’s another fast, furious, dangerous book with a host of new characters. Doctor Ellie is a runaway librarian, who couldn’t stand to see her mobile-library van scrapped, and the books pulped – she meets the children at an early stage, and they virtually kidnap her. She’s looking for the lost tribe of Ribblemoor, and inspires Millie and co to join the quest. ‘Their knowledge of their own history is non-existent,’ says Andy. ‘But they’re hungry to learn. Soon, they’re recreating not just the ancient Celtic camps, but great trek of the tribe over the magical flare-paths, on their way to the heart of what makes Ribblestrop so special. There are ghosts, chariots, and man-traps – and there’s Cuthbertson too, of course, who sees his final chance to make money, in the ultimate wipe-out.’
Does he succeed?
‘I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say I found it impossible to destroy indestructible children. They’re inspirational – how could Millie, Miles and Sanchez not survive? It is the last book, for sure, but the school lives on and it was a joy to write. I put the last full stop on the last page and sang the Ribblestrop song loudly, hand on heart.’