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Stephen Hauge
Dark Against the Sky: A Climbing Boy's Story and its sequel, Dark Against the Sky: Sweeping the Shadows

Dark Against the Sky is the story of a band of climbing boys, or young chimney sweeps, in London in 1834. The arc of their adventures follows the main character, Tommy, as he struggles to find and be re-united with his father, faces the daily challenge of life as a climbing boy ruled by callous master sweeps, and interacts enjoyably with friends and street folk. Though his story is often darkened by his work and the period, it is brightened and ultimately redeemed by his growth in his journey and the humanity he shares with his "band of brothers."

blueink review

"Hauge is a skilled storyteller.  He renders the squalor of 19th century London in prose that is as precise as it is palpable.  Manifest is the relentless cold, hunger, penury, and cruelty under which Hauge's resiliently pragmatic characters toil. . . . Smart problem solving and Tommy's brave leadership help the climbing boys to conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles on their own, which serves as a lesson in self-sufficiency for the novel's young adult audience. . . .Dark Against the Sky is an authentic, evocative, and classic portrayal of the human capacity to endure.  It is a winning tale."

ForeWord Reviews

"This endearing story details the adventures of Tommy Simpson and his winsome and supportive 'band of brothers" . . . the action scens and descriptions are nicely blended, and the entire book has a smooth cadence. . . .  Hauge's well-researched descriptions of the time period and London cityscape include beautiful little sketches of people and neighborhoods.  The language used to describe these scenes chimes with bell-like accuracy and vivid images. . . .  All ages will become entranced by this fast-paced historical tale."

Kirkus Reviews

"This adventurous middle-grade novel takes young readers through two days in the life of a 'climbing boy,' or chimney sweep in mid-19th century London. . . .  Hauge's well researched novel brims with historical asides . . . the story is a real corker. . . .  A fast-paced story with a wealth of historical detail."