Harry and his mother shelter from the sound of bombs falling during the war, knowing that his father will never return. HIs mother remembers the better times when they were together, but it was a troublesome time for most families, the war separated them in a way that hurt them the worst. Harry's father told him before he left that he had to look after his mother and be strong and reliable just as he was, but he finds it hard to muster up the courage needed.
One day when he is out playing with his friends, he sees a man at their home, Mr Williams, the family lawyer who tells his mother he has some very fortunate news. His father's cousin has left his father Wickford Hall, which was part of a huge old estate. Harry is quick to remember that his father never liked his family, so becomes wary of such a gift now. Wickford is in Suffolk and the two of them will most likely have to move there if it is to their liking. They find out the house is on the coast and Mr Williams will also pay a handsome amount of expenses to get them there. All the time, Mr Williams seems the kindest man alive, until he gets them to the hall and tells Harry and his mother he must do his last duty according to the will - show them to Wickford without telling them about the house they would soon call home. Only, the reality of the house was a huge joke originally intended for their father - the reality is that the estate has long since gone and the only part of the estate they will inherit is a small cottage. With everything going the way it has, Harry and his mum start to realise the true dark side view of his father's relatives, especially the Lord of the hall.
Harry's mother wonders how anyone could be so nasty as to play such a practical joke on them. No one likes to be made a fool of so she doesn't expect much from the will. However, if they decide to stay at the cottage, it could work out well, especially when Captain Morris welcomes them to the place as best he can. Not only does he prove to be the perfect companion to Harry, he tells him the several secrets of the original hall and its occupants, including the Lord's dark and disturbing interest in the occult which led to the legend of how Wickford Hall ended up.
The Wickford Doom is a thicker book than is normal for Barrington Stoke, and at a 137 pages it is a very enthralling read. It all starts out so normal with Harry living his day to day life with his friends and his mother. The bother comes when his father's lawyer makes his appearance. From there Harry is taken into a strange world of unusual things left in a will - a house that is no longer there, a cottage that's only mentioned at the end, the story of the Doom and a whole host of demons thrown into the mix (one in particular who seems to resemble a pig with flaming nostrils and huge tusks).
Chris Priestley knows how to keep a reader interested as he twists and turns each chapter along with the amazing ending I wasn't expecting. Chris Priestley also knows how to create atmosphere and keep the reader on the edge.
Review by Sandra Scholes
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Ruby from United Kingdom
The Wickford Doom, which is by Chris Priestly, is a thriller about a boy and his mother who go on a trip to see the new house that they inherited, but there are unpleasant surprises in store. I loved how it was really gripping and tense and there was a perfect amount of characters for a thriller story because it wasn't too busy. There was creative language and powerful descriptions. However, as there was a lot of description sometimes it was a bit slow-paced and didn't flow. Another criticism that I have is that we didn't get to know enough about some of the characters, like the mother. I think this book should be for ages 9 and up because it can be creepy at times. On the other hand, children under 9 who enjoy a thriller will probably like it.
Mahmud from United Kingdom
It's awesome diary. I'm not sure if this is a real event that took place.
8.9/10 from 3 reviews