Saffron has already had to suffer racial taunts due to her mixed-race origins. Her mission involves the Taj Mahal, where she learns via her late grandmother’s letter that she must find the hidden love token buried many years ago. Her travels to India prove a revelation. In searching and finding the missing artefact, she meets young Abu, who touches her heart. Slowly she learns something about herself and the inescapable facts of her personal Indian roots.
Don’t miss the characters who appear throughout the series: the inscrutable Verdigris, the evil Miss Pinchtuck and an ancient professor who plots to solve the world’s global warming problems. Can each of the seven Rainbow girls complete Verdigris’ mission and prove that the professor was right all along? Only time will tell.
Below is an exclusive extract from Saffron, just for you:
Invisible engines thrummed. An uncanny wind whistled past Saffron’s eardrums, the insistent beat echoing her thudding heart.
Don’t look down, for pity’s sake don’t look down.
From time to time the bustling noises of the Agra chawls came wafting up to her: the shouts from colourful vendors, blind and maimed beggars intermingling with the honking rickshaw drivers. All competed for her attention. But still she could not, would not look down as she clung ever tightly to the boy in the white turban. He was sitting cross-legged on the ancient, now threadbare piece of carpet, but Saffron could only perch on her knees as with every passing cloud the itchy fabric knitted and patched itself into a ruby, woven scab.
‘Remember what I told you,’ the boy shouted to her. ‘Keep away from the chawls. They’re full of cockroaches, centipedes and earthworms. Above all, don’t drink the water. It’s poisoned by human and animal excrement.’
Saffron shuddered. She just couldn’t imagine what life must be like for all those poor people she could see crammed into their personal kholi flats within their chawl.
How ever had she got here? What would her parents say if only they knew? But her parents would still be sleeping, sublimely unaware that she was already nearing her destination. Verdigris had known all along that her special mission involved the Taj Mahal, but for Saffron all she wanted was to fulfil her grandmother’s dying wish. ‘...Find my very own love token, my dear. I’m the only one who knows where it’s hidden, but I’m now too old. It’s you Saffron, yes only you, who must find it. Then at last I can die in peace. Goodnight for now, my darling girl.’
Now, years later, Saffron could only stare straight ahead, even if it was directly into the boy’s cambric shirt. If she moved her head slightly, or even pinched her eyes tight shut, a terrible nausea would prevail. She remembered the mantra her Mum always told her at the dentist’s: ‘this won’t last long; this won’t last long’. Soon, her agile brain had incorporated this with every zoom and lurch of the carpet beneath her knees, until suddenly, at last, the speed and motion changed.
The boy shouted out to her ‘Hold on tight. We’re going down.’
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