We’re delighted to have a guest blog from Santa Montefiore, author of bestselling series The Royal Rabbits of London, which proves even the smallest rabbit can be the biggest hero. We LOVED the latest instalment, The Great Diamond Chase, but will hand over to the author herself to tell you all about it!
When the Siberian Diamond is stolen from Buckingham Palace there is only one elite group of creatures who are capable of getting it back: The Royal Rabbits of London. Except that, Shylo, the little country bunny who has recently joined their secret order, should have been at his post in the Palace, keeping watch, when it was stolen. He feels very guilty and is determined to help find it to prove his worth to the Generalissimo Nelson and the four highly- trained Hopster Rabbits Zeno, Belle de Paw, Laser and Clooney. In the last adventure he was kidnapped by the evil Ratzis and taken to Rat Central at the top of the Shard where he only just managed to escape. In this third adventure of the series he’s going to have to face fearsome wolves, wily minks and an enormous white tiger. But Shylo is a lot braver than he realises, and clever too. The thing about courage is that you don’t have to be physically big or strong to have it. It comes from inside, where your heart is, and Shylo has a very big heart.
The idea for the Royal Rabbits was born when our son, who was then six, couldn’t sleep one night. I asked him to think of something he loved and he thought of rabbits, living beneath Buckingham Palace, no less! I seized upon the idea and hurried to tell my husband, Simon. I got very over-excited and could already picture the movie. Simon calmed me down, explaining that if the book was ever bought by a publisher it would be amazing – a movie was quite beyond our dreams. I’m glad I could eventually say ‘I told you so’ when the movie rights were bought by 20th Century Fox. It’s currently being made into a CGI movie, which is thrilling.
The hero of the series is a small and weak country rabbit called Shylo who sports a red eye patch to cure his squint and is bullied by his bigger and more athletic siblings. Being a clever and curious rabbit, he sneaks off to spend time with the old outcast Horatio who lives on the other side of the forest. Horatio loves history and reads him tales about the old Rabbit Empire, when rabbits ruled the animal kingdom. He also teaches him about the history of the legendary Royal Rabbits, who no one knows still exist, working beneath Buckingham Palace to protect the realm. In the first book, when Shylo overhears a trio of grisly super-rats (Ratzis) plotting to harm the Queen, Horatio sends him on an adventure to London to find the Royal Rabbits, who are the only ones to save the Queen.
Shylo learns that he is brave. He also learns what it means to be part of an effective team, where loyalty, kindness, honesty and love are the qualities that really matter. As parents and authors we wanted to write a series of inspirational books to teach young children about the things that really matter, and to enhance their love of stories. We are also aware that adults will be reading them to the younger children, so we’ve made sure the books are fun for them too. Simon and I have certainly had a great deal of fun writing them!