Jane Wilson-Howarth


Himalayan Heist

Publisher: Vajra Books
Author: Jane Wilson-Howarth
Page count: 274
RRP: NRp 700
ISBN: 978-9937624114

This is a third wildlife-packed Alex and James adventure set in Nepal. The tale is aimed at middle grade readers.
The many animals that feature in the story are illustrated by the author's photographs and tiny, beautiful drawings by Betty Levene head each page.





  • This is an adventure story for adults and young adults. It is a breathlessly exciting page-turner, in the long tradition of quest stories.
    The complex and shifting relationships of the three main protagonists – Alex and James, and their engaging girl companion Bim – are put to the test as they work their way through the beautiful and dangerous Nepalese landscape. They know what they have to do, but not what they will be required to face. Perils confront them at every turn, some natural, others man-made. The Nepalese landscape – presented in vivid and almost tactile clarity – can be beautiful, but also menacing.
    In many adventure stories the characters are the main interest and the setting is little more than a lifeless backcloth; or the landscape is the writer’s real subject and the protagonists are anaemic stereotypes whose only purpose is to move the story forward. But here the characterisation is enmeshed within the action and the setting. Without noticing, readers find themselves caring about the characters, anxious when they are separated, comforted when they are reunited.
    The author is a traveller. She writes about places and people she knows well, so there is an integrity in her writing and a total authenticity in the heft and feel of the story. So her accounts of the wildlife, the valleys and mountains and rivers, and the people the three main characters come across, have truth in them.
    Victor Watson, editor of The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English

  • In this fast-moving adventure story, the unthinkable happens several times over! From a plane crash landing in the remote mountains of western Nepal, we follow Alex, Bim and James as they escape from the wreckage, crossing terrifying torrents and battling through dense forests – where bears are the least of their problems. This is more than the story about three children trying to find their parents again. It’s also a glimpse into the wicked world of underground trading in animal parts and a quest to bring wildlife-killing criminals to justice.
    Anna Robinson-Pant, Professor of Education and UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy

  • Where to buy

    Vajra bookshop, Amrit Marg, Thamel, Kathmandu