SPACE TRACKERS is a parkour-inspired galactic adventure for the middle-grade reader. It’s a cross between Kenneth Oppel’s fast-paced Boundless, and Paul Stewart’s and Chris Riddell’s The Edge Chronicles with their zany characters and fantastical world creation. It stands at 45k words.
12-year old gymnast, Seb Carter, is desperate to join his local Tracker gang after losing his gymnastics team, trouble is they hate him for his prowess. His world flips upside down when his sister dies during Tracker-training. When he discovers that her death is no accident, he vows to locate the culprit and bring them to justice. The culprit is one step ahead of him and offers Seb an opportunity that he cannot refuse leaving Seb with a moral dilemma that involves destroying his past and jeopardising the lives of everyone he loves with it just to see his sister again.
I was born in Baghdad, Iraq and moved to London as a young girl. Space Trackers is partly inspired by my life trying to fit in and finding where I belong. My youthful curiosity of my neighbourhood, The Brandon Estate in Kennington, included climbing over interconnected garages and balconies and free running whilst discovering hidey holes to play in. The estate itself excitingly happened to feature in an episode of Doctor Who and The Bill! Actor and Parkour Pioneer, Sebastien Foucan, invited me to observe parkour professionally and even attempt the sport at his academy.
In my older years, as a physics graduate, and former science teacher, I have been fascinated by outer-space and had the opportunity to work with the magnetic field data from Voyager 1 & 2 probes under the tutelage of renowned physicist Professor Michelle Dougherty. She has been an inspiration to me to portray women as strong science leaders in my novel. I’m also an award-winning table-top games designer who enjoys incorporating puzzles within my stories. I sometimes use the console game Minecraft to build the visual elements of it too. I’m sometimes invited on schools and library visits to present my work through workshops and motivational talks.
I hope you enjoy reading the initial sample of Space Trackers. Thank you.
Because Parkour was made for space
CHAPTER ONE – DESCENT IN EXECUTION
47 seconds to D.I.E …
Seb Carter stood ready for the twenty-storey descent to Ground Zero. The moment he’d been living for since the death of his sister, Grace, had finally arrived. Almost time. His heart raced ahead of his feet as he steadied his breathing. Control. Adrenalin kicked into gear through his system. It hyped him up for the one thing he focused upon: The Route.
30 seconds …
Thoughts flickered like a zooming slide show with his mind’s eye, each obstacle appeared in turn as he mentally imagined tackling them. He’d chosen the Route himself and now he was ready. Ready to become a Tracker. Grace died during Tracker-Training, but he wouldn’t.
The biggest obstacle of them all wasn’t The Route itself, it was Barry Durrell, the Tracker gang leader, who hated him. If he really wanted to be part of the gang, this was it. From here on only one way to go: down.
5 seconds …
Pete and Suze were his only supporters as they watched from the starting line. The corridor was narrow and stretched both ends with Barry and Seb facing opposing ends of it.
‘Go!’ Pete ordered shooting his arm down like a guillotine. This authorised Descent In Execution. Seb pounded the concrete corridor towards the stairs, while Barry shot off in the opposite direction.
At the stairwell Seb leapt onto the window sill. He crouched. Shards of glass crunched under his Converse trainers as he grounded them twisting carefully onto the outer ledge of the concrete block. The chill July air struck his face with a cold slap. Summers weren’t what they used to be, if he remembered them at all.
Soot particles stained his hands when he touched the external carbon-stained walls. He raised himself to full height holding steady by leaning against the outer wall. He scanned the scene in front of him. The mishmash of flats and eyesores was the making of his estate.
The grey and concrete buildings, a common sight, in the Poor Side. It reminded him how much his life had changed in less than a year. This estate was home now and in direct sight, two buildings away north from his position, was his own residence. It was a small, dusty flat in a small compound with six high-rise buildings, that housed thousands, towering around it.
Movement in the corner of his eyes alerted him to two darkly uniformed figures. Enforcement Officers. They were attempting to break-through reinforced walls of someone’s flat. With two small objects in their hands: hand grenades. Powerful and precise, that could rip through the reinforced barriers whilst keeping the destruction controlled within a tight spherical range.
Seb refocused on The Route as he shook off the sight of the silhouetted figures. He shuffled as quietly as he could. Placing each foot carefully on the sloping ledge, he edged forward ready to drop down onto the next level.