The Enid Blyton Society
The Mountain of Adventure
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Book Details...

First edition: 1949
Publisher: Macmillan
Illustrator: Stuart Tresilian
Category: Adventure Series
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Artwork
Review by Anita Bensoussane
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Stuart Tresilian



Wraparound dustwrapper from the Thames reprint, illustrated by Stuart Tresilian



1st German edition published by Erika Klopp Verlag in 1952,
illustrated by Walter Born
Foreign Titles
German: Der Berg der Abenteuer
French:
Dutch: De berg van avontuur
Spanish: Aventura en la Montana
Portuguese: A Aventura na Montanha
Swedish: Aventyrens Berg
Danish: Det Mystiske Bjerg
Finnish: Seikkailujen Vuori
Norwegian: Det Mystiske Fjellet
Icelandic: Aevintyra fjallid
Malaysian: Pengembaraan Di Gunung
Indonesian: Petulangan Di Gunung Bencana


Mrs Mannering and Bill take Jack, Philip, Dinah and Lucy-Ann to a farm-house in the Welsh mountains for the summer holidays, where Philip soon makes friends with a goat named Snowy and a slow-worm whom he calls Sally Slither. This is the first time that Mrs Mannering and Bill have gone on holiday together, perhaps indicating how close they have become. Although they sleep in separate bedrooms, we see them coming down late to breakfast together one morning after the children have already eaten!

All six plan to head into the mountains for a few days on donkeys, taking tents and food with them, but, when Mrs Mannering traps her hand in the barn door and hurts it badly, Bill decides to stay behind and keep her company while the children go off into the mountains with David, the brother of Trefor the shepherd. David is a shy, nervous old man who speaks Welsh and knows only a few words of English. His map-reading skills are almost non-existent so he is pretty useless as a guide. David and the children are supposed to be heading for the Vale of Butterflies, but after a couple of days they have lost their way and Jack proposes that they stop and camp halfway up a mountain which rises steeply above them.

That's when things begin to happen. The children are awoken at night by the howling of a pack of wolves, David flees after seeing something or someone lurking in the bushes, all the donkeys but one (Dapple) run off after David, and curious rumbling noises and puffs of crimson smoke come from the mountain.

One night, Philip finds himself surrounded by the "wolves" and realises that they are actually Alsatian dogs. Like all animals, they are irresistibly drawn to Philip and, with his encouragement, soon befriend all the children.

Lucy-Ann encounters a black man, Sam, hiding in a tree, who warns her of evil men working in the mountain. The children realise that it must have been the sight of Sam lurking in the bushes that made David run away. Later, they see someone set the Alsatians on Sam. Philip tries to call them off but he and Sam are caught by a "hawk-eyed" man, who takes them through a narrow opening in the wall of the mountain.

That night, Jack and the others spot a helicopter landing on the mountain-top and decide to investigate the next morning, leaving a note tied to Dapple's harness in case Bill comes searching for them.

Their exploration of the mountain uncovers many surprises — vast caves, a black pool of water, passages, galleries, a throne-room and a pit containing a strange radiant mass. Most amazing of all is a laboratory of gleaming wires, glass jars, flames, wheels and a glowing lamp.

The children are caught and imprisoned in the mountain. They learn that, inside the mountain, men are working on anti-gravity wings which, if successful, will enable human-beings to fly like birds. Ex-paratroopers of all nationalities are used to try out the wings, attracted by enormous amounts of money. Sam is one of those paratroopers but he attempted to escape after discovering that those who had gone before him had fallen to their deaths. The Alsatians are used to frighten people away from the mountain, round up escapees and sniff out the bodies of those who have tried the wings.

The King of the Mountain is a deluded elderly scientist who believes that, if he can perfect his invention, he will be king of the whole world. The "hawk-eyed" man, Meier, and his accomplice, the "ape-faced" Erlick, believe in the old man's ideas and have invested time and money in the project, intending ultimately to reap the rewards for themselves.

To the children's horror, Philip is selected to test the wings and a helicopter arrives, from which he will have to jump with the wings strapped to his arms. Philip prepares to meet his fate with dignity and courage but, as the helicopter flies into the air, the pilot shouts out: "Don't forget Bill Smugs!" and the children realise, to their delight, that the pilot is Bill! The rescue of the others is not without its setbacks but, eventually, the game is up for Meier and Erlick when Philip sets their own dogs on them.

The Mountain of Adventure was my least favourite Adventure book as a child, as it is slow to start. However, Blyton does capture something of the flavour of Wales in her descriptions of sunlit mountains and shadowed valleys, buzzards and swallows, goats, birch-trees, streams and stone walls. Less believable are the irritating phrases, supposedly Welsh-sounding, uttered repeatedly by Mr and Mrs Evans: "look you," "indeed to gootness," and "whateffer." I grew up in Wales and never heard anyone talk like that!

This book resembles The Secret Mountain (1941) in many ways (people living secretly in a mountain, the capture of the children and the near-sacrifice of one of the boys) but I feel that The Secret Mountain, with its exotic African setting, is more convincing than The Mountain of Adventure. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.