"'Like the elephant at its centre, Nicholson's book is gentle, profound and sweet-natured.' THE OBSERVER 'It isn't often that amid all the indifferent fiction - historical novels especially - I'm offered for review every week, I come upon an absolute gem. Nicholson's story, set in 1773, about a 15-year-old boy from Somerset employed to take care of a pair of elephants bought by a wealthy Bristol merchant with a vague plan of breeding from them for the lucrative ivory market, defies category. Technically, I suppose, it is a historical novel, but though we're aware that the events could only have taken place in the late 18th century when most people had never heard of, let alone seen, an elephant, it is the extraordinary relationship between the keeper Tom Page and his charges Timothy and Jenny that had me at times close to tears. How much of this delightful but often darkly disturbing book is based on historical records I don't know, and frankly it doesn't matter. The result is a joy.' SUE ARNOLD, THE GUARDIAN"