Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.

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"A plane was diving straight at him. All around machine-gun bullets leapt from the tarmac, or embedded themselves in the grass outside the cathedral. Colin, galvanised into action, raced to the porch of St Mary Major. There was a slight pain in his arm; a bullet had made two neat round holes, its points of entry and exit, in the sleeve of his jacket, and had left a long horizontal cut in his skin"

The Exeter Blitz

Carnegie winner: 1978
Author: David Rees

Depicting the devastation wreaked upon towns and cities during the Second World War, The Exeter Blitz, offers an action-packed, exciting account of the intensive bombing that affected the City of Exeter in 1942 and the impact it wrought upon individuals, families and ways of life.  The story follows Colin Lockwood and his family, father Ron who is a verger at Exeter Cathedral, and mother Brenda who works in a local, fashionable dress shop.

Colin is something of an endearing rogue at the start of the book, a fun-loving boy that falls asleep in class and is prone to outburst of laughter during the fashion shows that his mother helps with.  He is a boy who never takes life too seriously.  This makes his development through the book and the gaining sense of responsibility he shows as the blitz is underway, all the more acute.

The impact of war exerts its stranglehold more closely culminating in bombs ravaging the city, and with it the homes and lives of many families. Colin is one of those who helps in the effort, showing courage and commitment. There is a palpable sense of danger in the bombing scenes, particularly for Colin who find himself caught in this, and the devastation that is wrought upon the community feels all too real.

The power of the novel lies in Colin’s development and the vivid contrast that occurs between his happy-go-lucky and somewhat self-absorbed nature at the start of the novel and the actions and endeavours he makes to serve and secure his community towards the end. Exhilarating action during the theatrics of the bombing are balanced by understanding as to the effects wreaked upon the community and city landscape.


Exeter / world war II / World War Two /