‘Sky Hawk’ by Gill Lewis

226p 2011 Oxford University Press Borrowed, and then bought!

11 year old Callum has never seen an osprey in his life, and there haven’t been any near his family’s Scottish farm for over a hundred years. The endangered birds are extremely rare, and nest sites are a closely guarded secret.

One spring day, when out on the farm with his friends Rob and Euan, Callum has a chance encounter with Iona McNair, who claims, even though she is new to the village, that she knows more about Callum’s farm than he does. Callum and his friends dismiss her, but he agrees to let her try and prove it to him. The next day, he has to concede that Iona is right, after she shows him the most amazing sight: an osprey nest right on his own farm.

When the female osprey has a terrible accident, Callum and Iona have to share their secret with Callum’s family and Hamish, the local nature ranger, who rescues and GPS tags her. The two new friends name the magnificent bird Iris and make a pact to always keep her safe. Over the summer, from their tree-house near the loch, they watch the adult osprey tending to their three chicks.

 At the end of the summer, right before the birds are due to migrate, an unexpected tragedy occurs.  Callum is distraught and with only his pact with Iona to cling to, he continues with the plan to track Iris on her migration back to Africa for the winter. But when her GPS signal is lost, how will Callum know what has happened to Iris?

My friend lent me Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis over two years ago saying I ‘had’ to read it, and once again, her recommendation was spot on. It is a beautifully crafted story, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It really felt like I was running around the highlands of Scotland with Callum and Iona, watching the amazing birds of prey.

I don’t think it is possible for me to tire of this book; two years after first reading it, I still pick it up. I always become so immersed in the story and the writing is absolutely fabulous.

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