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The Train to Impossible Places

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About this book

The Train to Impossible Places: Book 1
The Train to Impossible Places

All aboard for a magical journey... When Suzy hears a strange rattling noise in the middle of the night, she creeps downstairs to find a train roaring through her house. But this is no ordinary train. This is the magical delivery express for The Union of Impossible Places. Whisked onboard by a troll boy called Wilmot, Suzy's world is turned upside down when she's given the job of delivering a cursed package to the fearsome sorceress, Lady Crepuscula. Except when the mysterious package begs not to be delivered, Suzy discovers the fate of the Impossible Places might just be in her hands...

“Great fun, fast-moving and inventive”
Philip Reeve, author of Mortal Engines
“An exciting, imaginative, wild ride of a story that never lets up for a minute.”
Robin Stevens, author of Murder Most Unladylike

Read an extract

“I’m Suzy,” said Suzy. “Suzy Smith. And I’d like to know who you are and what you’re doing here, please.”
“I suppose we do owe you the courtesy.” The light bobbed and weaved as Stonker grappled with the lantern, then it flickered out entirely. It took Suzy a few seconds to blink away the red and green smudge it left on her vision, and then she saw him.
He was the same sort of creature as Fletch, though his skin was a flinty grey and less warty and wrinkled. He wore a smart blue uniform, with a coat that reached his ankles and a peaked cap with silver piping. He looked down at her past both his enormous nose and an equally impressive salt-and-pepper moustache, as thick and lustrous as a badger, which hung down almost to his knees before the tips curled back up into rigid little spirals. His blue eyes twinkled as he spoke.
“J.F. Stonker,” he said. “Driver of the Impossible Postal Express. The finest troll train on the rails.” He reached up and gave the locomotive’s boiler an affectionate pat.
“You’re trolls?” she said. “How is that possible?”
“We hadn’t intended to stop,” said Stonker, “but I’m afraid you wandered onto the tracks. You’re jolly lucky the brakes have just been serviced.”
“But that wasn’t my fault,” said Suzy, feeling the temperature rise in her cheeks. “The tracks aren’t supposed to be here. None of this is supposed to be here. Including you!” This was all starting to feel terribly unfair.
“Fear not,” said Stonker. “We’ll be on our way again momentarily, and Fletch will have the tracks up and everything back to its normal proportions in no time. You’ll never know the difference.”
“Normal proportions?” For the first time, Suzy realized there was a question she hadn’t asked herself: how could such an enormous steam engine possibly fit inside her house? She looked up past the locomotive, and saw the hall ceiling, impossibly high above her head, the purple light shade like a distant hot-air balloon. The hall had grown to the size of a cathedral without her even noticing.
“What happened?” she said, wide-eyed. “What did you do?”
“Not really my department, I’m afraid,” said Stonker. “Fletch here is the technical genius.”
Fletch sniffed. “I try my best.”
Suzy hardly heard them. She was running back and forth, trying to take it all in. The living room door was as tall as a cliff now, and she would have to stand on tiptoes if she wanted to reach the top of the skirting board. The kitchen door had vanished altogether, replaced by another enormous stone arch. The tracks didn’t end there any more, but ran on into the blank darkness beyond. Her voice echoed in the cavernous space as she cried, “You shrank us!”
“Nah,” said Fletch, cocking his head to one side and plucking at the hair in his ears. “I just gave the hall a bit of a stretch, that’s all.”
“You mean you made everything bigger?” Suzy gaped at him, horrified. “But that’s worse! How big’s the house now? It must take up half the street.”
“What sort of a fly-by-night merchant do you take me for?” said Fletch. “I didn’t make the outside any bigger, and I haven’t touched any of the other rooms. What would be the point of that?”
“Wait a minute.” Suzy fought to digest this new information.
“You mean the house is still its normal size, even though you’ve made the hall bigger than the house?”
“That’s right.” Fletch grinned, warming to his topic. “It’s pretty standard stuff, really: your basic meta-dimensional engineering, a dash of magic and a few bits of double-sided sticky tape. Job done.”
Suzy looked again at the living room doorway. She could still see her parents beyond it, fast asleep and normal-sized, but the doorway itself seemed to flicker and stretch when she focused on it. It only took her a few seconds to realize she was seeing it as both sizes at the same time, but by then it had started to make her feel seasick and she had to look away. “No,” she said, shaking her head. “I’m sorry, but that’s impossible.”
“Is it?” said Fletch, feigning surprise.
“You can’t just make something bigger on the inside than the outside.”
“Course you can. It’s simple fuzzics.”
Suzy frowned. “You mean ‘physics’.”
“No,” said Fletch. “Fuzzics. Like physics, only fuzzier.”

 


P.G. Bell

P.G. Bell

P.G. Bell is a native of south Wales, where he was raised on a diet of Greek mythology, ghost stories and Doctor Who. He's had all sorts of jobs over the years, from lifeguard to roller coaster operator, but all he's ever really wanted to do is write stories for a living. And now he does! He lives in Wales with his wife Anna, and their two children.

Visit the author’s website, https://www.pgbellwriter.com/, for more information.


Press Reviews

All aboard for an unforgettable journey.
The Sunday Express
Rollicking entertainment.
The Sunday Times
Bursting with influences, particularly Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, but has a crazy, pacy charm all its own.
The Guardian
A harum-scarum fantasy adventure crammed with quirky action.
The Observer
This wickedly amusing tale of trolls and trains and physics waylaid by fuzzics, reaches out to children with its quality writing and suspenseful rip-roaring inventive adventure, but definitely speaks to adults with nods to disgruntled postal workers and train engineers.
The Independent
A fantasy adventure crammed with quirky action.
Irish Sunday Independent
The world-building is superb, vivid and well realised, filled with fascinating delivery stops: magic towers, a watery grave, a troll town under a bridge, all packed with characters you would love to meet.
Caroline Wood, Librarian review for TES
An excellent read for young and old - full of fun, magic, adventure and a hint of danger
5 Star review from Independent Book Reviews
An incredibly confident debut which is endlessly imaginative, highly inventive worldbuilding and a plot every bit as unpredictable as the train itself.
The Bookseller
Inventive and imaginative this is one adventure where you won't want to get off.
WRD About Books
A tale destined to become a classic; a rip-roaring adventure full of mystery, magic, goodies, baddies, laughs, thrills, spills… oh, and a science called fuzzics (that’s physics, only fuzzier).
Lancashire Evening Post
This roller-coaster of a book is pacey, fun, and full of lots of fantastical new ideas.
BookTrust
A fast paced adventure
Just Imagine
Full of unexpected twists and turns, this is an ingenious and unusual story.
Parents in Touch
The character building in this story is wonderful, with lovely dynamics created between the most unlikely of individuals.
Mr Keyte, Talking Teaching (blogger review)
With clearly defined characters all with motives for their actions, an understanding of the rhythm and flow of a good book, comic flair, and above all a top-notch fast-paced adventure plot, this is a phenomenal new novel.
Minerva Reads (blogger review)
This is a highly enjoyable read with a smart, determined heroine.
Mini Travellers, blogger

Reader Reviews

The train to impossible places
There are short, sharp chapters with cliffhangers which make it a great choice for bedtime reading with an adult or an independent middle grade / teenage reader more used to shorter books. Punchy opening.

Helen Swinyard, 9th December 2018
The Train to Impossible Places
The description was amazing and it really helped me to create a picture in my head of what it would look like in real life. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a lot of action.

Keira, Year 6 (TES review), 7th November 2018
The Train to Impossible Places
I really liked this book because it was very adventurous and exciting. I give this book 10/10 because it is so amazing.

Amelia, Year 6 (TES review), 7th November 2018
Awesome Book
This book is amazing because it really uses your imagination. It has great language and it is sometimes amusing and intriguing.

Amelie, 3rd November 2018
The Train to Impossible Places
We shared the reading of this one. My eight year old liked it as much as I did. It has an almost Enid Blyton feel about it with a bit of Pratchett and something else, not quite Harry Potter, even though there is magic, heroes and villains in it. It has a certain charm about it. Imaginative, exciting, it keeps the reader wanting more and on his/her toes with the numerous twists in the plot. There are a strange range of characters and incidents in it. My son like the idea of a train fuelled on bananas, Trollville and Wilmot, the Postmaster. Overall, quirky, entertaining read.

Rsa, aged 8 (Toppsta reader review), 30th October 2018
The Train to Impossible Places
I am pleased to be providing a review for ‘The Train to Impossible Places’, which is one of my Top 5 books of the year and another fantastic debut & first book of a brand new series by P.G Bell. Suzy, a young girl on the cusp of young adulthood, is a curious, resourceful, caring, loyal & intelligent girl but also somewhat impulsive. She soon realises that her love for physics and puzzle solving is getting her odd looks from her classmates. One day a train (The Impossible Postal Express) runs right through into her living room and like any curious & adventurous girl would do, she jumps on the train. Along with the postal workers she joins their mission to deliver top secret packages to Impossible places, going through fantastical realms and meeting villains on the way. This is a humorous, action packed and super imaginative book full of exciting new worlds & fantastical characters. With Dr Who and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy-esque elements, I found this fantasy adventure both entertaining and empowering. I recommend readers both young and old to jump on board on this high speed journey of a lifetime..! An absolute gorgeous 5⭐️ read...

From_Scrumptious_Tales (Toppsta reader review), 30th October 2018
The Train to Impossible Places
A truly marvellous adventure story. Suzy is a totally refreshing heroine, she really likes physics and she is in her pyjamas! A sound wakes Suzy, when she goes to investigate, she finds a troll laying tracks for a train in her home. The train is a postal delivery train, delivering mail across the Union of Impossible places. Rather rashly, she decides to hop on board. She is given her first parcel to deliver and soon she is intertwined with the fate of the impossible places. We really enjoyed this book, we loved the idea of imagining places we might go to too that defy the laws of physics. A really great read!

Gina + Darth, aged 9 (Toppsta reader review), 30th October 2018
The Train to Impossible Places
This book was such a fantastic read I loved it. Full of magic, adventure, villains and lots of twists. Suzy ends up the newest member on the train to impossible place after the train crashes in to her hall way. This book will definitely not disappoint anyone. Looking forward to more of these

Leonjames, aged 12 (Toppsta reader review), 30th October 2018
An honestly great book!

Dat guy, 14th October 2018
Mind blowing!
This is a fast-paced, well written, magical adventure, and is full of clever puns and jokes. As a 10 year old, it’s hard to imagine what living upside down or in the Moon would be like, but this book really gives you an insight into a brilliant, mythical world. When Suzy Smith discovers a train roaring through her house she’s quickly whisked aboard and tasked with delivering a cursed package, but she soon discovers that the fate of the Impossible Places might be at risk. I really enjoyed the chapter where the World is frozen in time, because Suzy wasn’t stuck and everybody else was frozen mid-action. There are a lot of twists and turns spread throughout the book. I would 100% recommend this book for anyone age 9 to 11, especially fans of Cressida Cowell. All in all a great read!

Guy, 22nd August 2018

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