An exciting new stand-alone adventure by the author of The Letter for the King
At the end of every schoolday, new teacher Mr Van der Steg entertains his pupils with tall tales of incredible events, which he claims really happened to him - involving hungry lions and haunted castles, shipwrecks and desert islands. One day, when he can't think of anything suitably exciting to tell them, he invents a story about a very important letter which he's expecting that evening, with news of a perilous mission. Evening arrives and so, to his surprise, does an enigmatic letter...
And so Mr Van der Steg is drawn into a real-life adventure, featuring a grumpy coachman, a sinister uncle, eccentric ancestors, a hidden treasure, an ancient prophecy and Geert-Jan, a young boy who is being kept prisoner in the mysterious House of Stairs. Although the treasure rightfully belongs to Geert-Jan, his uncle is determined to seize it for himself. As Mr Van der Steg, with the help of his pupils, sets out to rescue the boy, he becomes more and more entangled with the strange history of the Seven Ways, the House of Stairs and the powerful Conspiracy of Seven.
Tonke Dragt was born in 1930 in Indonesia. When she was twelve, she was imprisoned in a Japanese camp during the war, where she wrote her very first book using begged and borrowed paper. After the war, she and her family moved to the Netherlands, where she became an art teacher. In 1962 she published her most famous story, The Letter for the King, which won the Children's Book of the Year Award and has been translated into sixteen languages; its sequel, The Secrets of the Wild Wood, followed in 1965, and both are published by Pushkin Press. Dragt was awarded the State Prize for Youth Literature in 1976 and was knighted in 2001.