Kathleen Fidler
The Boy with the Bronze Axe
1968

from the dustjacket of the Olver and Boyd first edition:

IN 1850 a violent sea-storm stripped the sand from Skara Brae in the Orkneys, revealing to the world how life was lived nearly three thousand years ago by the inhabitants of a small Stone Age settlement.

The threat of the sandstorm which buried the village of Skara looms through-out the story, even at a time of great achievement when the stone is raised at Midsummer in the Ring of Brodgar. The threat comes from seaward, from the shifting, sifting sand of the dunes behind which the village crouches, from the scouring sea and the strong winds which are always blowing.

But the winds and the sea, before they bring disaster, bear to the island a strange craft fashioned of wood, such as the people of Skara have never seen before. And the craft bears a young boy, clad in skins the people do not know and carrying an axe of bronze.


KATHLEEN FIDLER has been writing both books and radio programmes for children for many years. The Boy with the Bronze Axe was inspired by a visit to Skara Brae in Orkney, when the author, a keen student of archaeology, became fascinated by the site of the ancient Stone Age village with its round stone-walled huts, its stone furniture and implements. In many areas Stone Age life went on when the use of bronze had already been introduced to others, and here Miss Fidler investigates the impact on a close, pastoral community of a boy with an axe of bronze and with the traditions of the hunter.

Edward Mortelmans, the artist, was trained at the Slade School of Fine Arts. He is a figure, portrait and landscape painter and a book illustrator, and he has been art director to a publishing house.