I have now finished the second half of the Mountain of Adventure (Hurrah! I hear you cry out!) I’m sorry for leaving things so long, but I hope you can bear with me. If you need to refresh your memory, you can re-read part one here.
From this point on in the book the action really picks up. The first thing that really happens is that Philip gets himself discovered by one of the nasty men who is in charge of the strange things going on the mountain – the rumbling that the children pick up on, and comings and goings by helicopter.
As Philip disappears, Snowy the goat follows him, and the three remaining children use Snowy to help them find Philip, or at least where Philip has been taken.
Jack, Dinah and Lucy-Ann, after leaving the donkey Dapple hidden by some grass and a stream with a note for Bill attached somewhere about the animal, follow Snowy through a grassy cave and into the mountain.
Almost immediately you begin to feel shivers with the children at this discovery, however old you are you can’t help be but excited for this wonderful discovery.
However, for me this time around, it got a bit boring right in the middle of the exciting bit. Once Jack, Dinah and Lucy-Ann had found Philip, locked in a room, released him and were almost out of the mountain, they found themselves being captured, and Philip was locked away again. The action and adventure slows down here as the children let themselves be kept prisoners by the bad men and the mad scientist. Their constant refrain is “Where is Bill?” at this time, and you find yourself wishing for this magical man who works for some secret organisation to appear because then you know there is plenty more thrilling adventure on the way.
Sure enough mind, as Philip gets uncomfortably close to dying (possibly the closest one of Blyton’s main characters as ever gotten) Bill swoops in (literally) and sets to work saving them with the rousing cry of “Don’t forget Bill Smugs!”
This gives Jack, Dinah and Lucy-Ann new hope that Bill knows where they are and is coming for them as the helicopter containing Philip flies away. Now all we have to do is to wait for Bill to arrive.
The journey out of the mountain with Bill at their side, after his daring rescue goes wrong, is quite uneventful. Bill notes down in his mind all he needs to know for his work, about the metal extraction that’s going on in the mountain and what was happening to the men who were being held there. Soon they’re out in the open again, and it all seems like the adventure is all over.
However, there is a bit to go yet. Philip successfully manages to turn the pack of Alsations that roam the hills for the protection of the mountain on their masters, using his enviable charm that he has for the animals. It’s quite a wonderful, magical moment by Blyton when you can feel like holding your breath with everyone to be ripped to shreds but then these surprisingly playful dogs start licking you instead of attacking.
In the end, there’s a nice satisfactory conclusion to the story, and once more everyone is safe and in once piece. Lucy-Ann declares that she doesn’t like adventures, but likes them when they’re over.
Mountain is one of the stories where I can really get lost in the scenery and the adventure, although stilted at points is quite an enthralling one. Another thing about Mountain that makes it unique is that Bill is allowed to go on holiday with the children with Mrs Mannering. Several times the words ‘quite fond’ are uttered of the relationship between Bill and Aunt Allie, making the reader aware that the two grown-ups are getting quite close. Their relationship has obviously been knocked up a few notches since The Sea of Adventure, possibly while the children are at school.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to write what happens between Bill and Allie, as they seem to be a genuinely lovely pair, and quite the power couple.
I like Mountain a lot as a book, probably more than I remembered. Its terrible to say that it has quiet periods which really knocks it back down behind Valley for the time being, in my ratings list. A smashing read nevertheless. The Mountain truly is an Adventure book.
Next review: The Ship of Adventure