Red Fox, by Sandy Fussell

My muscles ache but my heart aches even harder. I am the only one who has made it to the shore. I am the only one who has survived the monsoon’s rampage.
For the first time in my life I am completely alone. No Mikko to tease me. No Kyoko to make me smile. No Yoshi, Taji, Chen or little Yuri. Not even Sensei is here to help me.

When Niya wakes up on a deserted beach, he is all alone. He fears he is the only survivor of a terrible shipwreck. He can no longer hear his beloved Sensei and the other Cockroaches are nowhere to be found. Soon, though, he is reunited with Chen, and together they set off to search for their friends, who, if they have survived, will have headed to the temple city of Angkor.

Red Fox is the seventh title in the Samurai Kids series and will delight lovers of the series. As always there are challenges for Niya and his friends, and this time Niya needs to dig deep to confront both the physical obstacles, and his growing maturity. He has his own student, Chen, to look out for and to guide, and must also trust Sensei as he starts to let go regardless of whether Niya wants things to change.

As with most series, Red Fox is best read having read the previous instalments, but Fussell’s story genius is such that it could be read in isolation with touches of back story included and a plot not reliant on a full knowledge of what has gone before.

Red Fox (Samurai Kids)

Red Fox (Samurai Kids), by Sandy Fussell, illustrated by Rhian Nest James
Walker Books, 2012
ISBN 978192207750

Available from good bookstores or online.