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Adventure of the River Rats - Synopsis


Noble, Epiphany and Alliée discover a secret passage under the Rhone. Passing under the river, they travel through time to rescue the Tapestry Weaver. She has been taken hostage by the evil Cardinal Niccolo Corsica.



Ten year old Alliée lives on a bend in the Thames with her father, the kind lock keeper. The twins, Epiphany and Noble, arrive by barge one evening. Alliés’s father helps the new comers settle in. 


Gradually the three children develop a friendship. By the time the barge is forced to move on, the children are inseparable. Alliée is very sad to lose her companions.


Shortly after, Alliée’s father dies. She is devastated.


Her mother, the Tapestry Weaver, arrives from France to collect her and takes her to live on an immense barge on the wild Rhone river.


Alliée and her mother don’t have a common language. The Tapestry Weaver tells her daughter tales of the mythical creatures she weaves; this way Alliée begins to learn French. 


Very gradually, Alliée recovers. She wakes up to her new situation: a River Rat on the edge of the magnificent, walled city of Avignon.


Months later in the warm autumn light, Alliée sees the twin’s barge coming down the Rhone. The children are amazed and delighted to be reunited. 


The ancient city of Avignon was home to the Popes, the Kings, wars, witch hunts and plagues. The children find themselves powerfully drawn into its myth and magic.


They set out to explore.


Foraging on the Isle de Barthelasse, Noble’s kitten leaps from his pocket and disappears.  Pursuing her, Noble discovers a hole in the roots of an age-old oak, leading to a chamber beneath the tree and an underground passageway. 


They follow the tunnel under the river Rhone, and discover a forgotten tower, in the heart of the Popes’ Palace. Locked high above the city, and left to waste away, is a woman who strongly resembles the Alliée‘s mother.


This Tapestry Weaver has been imprisoned by the wicked Cardinal Niccolo Corsica in 1728. She would rather die than reveal to him the secret of spinning gold.


The children promise to rescue her. Alliée believes her mother has the keys to the prison door, hanging from her loom on the barge. 


Ignoring their fatigue, hunger and fear, they retrace their way through the passage under the river, to their own time. Once they have the keys, they return to the past. 


The children must release the Tapestry Weaver before Cardinal Niccolo Corsica manages to brick her into the tower for eternity. Fortunately, their key fits the lock.


Free, the Tapestry Weaver is majestic. She vows revenge on the evil Cardinal.

They part ways at the base of the tower, the woman through an ancient door into her time and the children back under the river into theirs. 


Arriving home, they find Alliée’s enigmatic mother on the roof of the barge, star gazing. Wordlessly, she searches her young daughter’s face, puts her hand out for the missing keys, and embraces Alliée. 



Aimed at 7-11 year olds. 

8500 words count.

30 images. 

48 horizontal pages. 

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