Monday 11 March 2019

Join me in Conversation with #GameOfThrones actor and Historical Fiction Children’s author, Clive Mantle #ChildrensBooks #TimeTravel @MantleClive

A Conversation with Historical Fiction Children’s author,
Clive Mantle.

Mary Anne: Hi Clive, welcome to Myths, Legends, Books &Coffee Pots! Before we begin, could you tell us all a little about yourself.

Clive: I’m best known as an actor, having appeared in TV classics like Game of Thrones, Robin of Sherwood, Sherlock, Vicar of Dibley and Casualty, appearing in Alien 3 and White Hunter Black Heart amongst others on film and Of Mice and Men on stage.

Clive portraying Greatjon Umber in Game of Thrones.
Clive portraying Greatjon Umber in Game of Thrones.

Clive portraying Little John in Robin of Sherwood.

Mary Anne: I adore Robin of Sherwood, and your portrayal of Little John was fabulous. But, we are not here to talk about television, we are here to talk about your wonderful book — The Treasure at the Top of the World.

Authors often talk about what inspired them to put pen to paper. So, my first question is:

What inspired you to write The Treasure at the Top of the World?

Clive: I have long held the dream of writing to inspire the young in the way I was bewitched as a young boy by one of my Literary heroes, Oliver Postgate.

 ‘The Treasure at the Top of the World’ is the first in a series of commissioned adventures for my leading character Freddie Malone. It was published in June 2018 and has been shortlisted for a Peoples Book Prize 2019. 

“The idea is everything” – is a phrase I am well used to hearing in the film and TV business. It’s a general truism that camouflages a mountain of hard work. But it doesn’t matter how well you write, if the idea isn’t good enough people won’t read it.

My idea took many years to filter through and it came to me as I walked away from Mount Everest. Having completed the gruelling but wonderful trek to Everest Base Camp and beyond, my thoughts turned to ‘What’s next?’

The idea came in a flash. 

Boy receives World Map for his birthday, hangs it on his wall and disappears through it to any destination on earth, at any period in History.

Clive on the way back from Everest.

Freddie can go anywhere, at any time. He can observe History happening and bring it to life for a modern audience. Living history.

Mary Anne: Congratulation on making the shortlist for Peoples Book Prize 2019. Keep us posted on how your book gets on in the competition.

It is funny how inspiration strikes at unexpected movement’s, although I think you are probably the first person who has said on this blog that they found inspiration while walking away from Mount Everest! You sound like you are someone who is up for a challenge, which leads very nicely on to question two!

What kind of challenges did you come up against while researching the historical context of your book?

Clive: ‘The Treasure at the Top of the World’ takes place in 21st Century England and 20th Century Nepal.

Mallory, Irvine, Yaks and Yetis, First love, Treasure, Disasters and Adventure. The mountain kingdom hosts the quest to return stolen relics from a ruthless adversary and is counterpointed with Freddie’s best friend Connor stranded at home in the present day. He has to deal with his own problems in the shape of persistent bullies, as his weight makes him an easy and soft target. Both boys have many great lessons to learn and adventures to experience. The strong female role model in the story is Mindhu, a funny, strong and captivating Sherpana who steals Freddie’s heart.

The challenges for me were mainly those of paring down my original completed first draught, which weighed in at a hefty 125,000 words! Too long, as even I knew. My fantastic agent and guide in the process Penny Luithlen, set me incredibly helpful targets. A paragraph was about 8 sentences on average and she asked me to turn those 8 into 5 without losing the essence. I went away and dutifully did that and in the process fell in love with editing.

Then Penny encouraged me to turn those revised 5 sentences into 3. It can be done. It was published at 52,000 words. Less is more.

All those precious adjectives and wordy cul-de-sacs we think are vital can be [radically] pruned. I found it liberating. Suddenly the story and characters were allowed to leap off the page. As a consequence, my second book was 60,000 when I finished the first draught and will be 52,000 when it emerges in June 2019. I had saved myself a lot of work being economical.

Mary Anne: The dreaded wordcount, I am sure many authors can sympathise with you over that. Is there anything that makes The Treasure at the Top of the World, unique?

Clive: I have read countless testimonies from the great mountaineers safely returned from tackling Everest, but was not aware of a book like mine introducing the younger reader to the majesty and miracle that is Nepal. Not only the visual splendours, but the magnificence and generosity of its people.

I want my books to plant the seed of travel and adventure in young minds. Freddie is placed in Nepal during a real historic event and can communicate what that feels like as he relates his tales to Connor on return. My aim is always to inspire and encourage, both to read and to explore. We must enthuse the young mind with reading before the ‘You Tube’ generation lose the ability to pick up and enjoy books.

Mary Anne: The Treasure at the Top of the World sounds absolutely fabulous and it has been wonderful talking to you. Before you go, can you tell us what you are currently working on?

Clive: Freddie Malone’s second adventure is published in June 2019. ‘A Jewel in the Sands of Time’ is set in two periods in Ancient Egypt and the present day. Pharaohs, Intrigue, Tombs, Chariots, Pyramids, Slavery and of course the story of a long dead Boy King whose name resonates louder today than ever. Tutankhamun.

Book three, due for release in June 2021, is set in London, with the backdrop of The Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666. Freddie will be a witness to these huge events.

Freddie can’t change History in the grand scale of things, but he can operate on a human level to make an important difference in the thick of the action.

It is a joy for me to enter Freddie’s universe and retreat for hours at a time from a modern world that often baffles and confuses me. Emerging blinking into the harsh realities of our complex society often comes as a shock.

I hope you enjoy the series as it unravels. Your comments and feedback would be very much appreciated.

Mary Anne: Thank you so much, Clive, for taking the time to chat with us today.
Scroll down to read a fabulous excerpt from The Treasure at the Top of the World. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

The Treasure at the Top of the World
(A Freddie Malone Adventure Book 1) 

When Freddie Malone is given an ancient map for his birthday by his eccentric Uncle Patrick, it seems an odd gift, but Freddie is thrilled. Little does he realise that the mysterious map is about to turn his world upside down. Plunged into a perilous adventure between two worlds, and pursued in turn by a ruthless bully and a determined adversary who will each go to any lengths to get what they want, Freddie must fight for what’s right – and for his very life…

Clive Mantle brings all the drama of his TV, film and stage career to the first in a thrilling series of incredible time-travel adventures.


12:01 a.m. Was he still dreaming?
Freddie sat up. He felt a tremor of anticipation and then a crackle and surge of energy in his bedroom that made his eyes grow wide in alarm. From the silence of the rest of the house he started to hear something; music and voices swelling with increasing urgency, as they began swirling invisibly around him. Dozens of different people seemed to be talking in snippets of strange languages, like frenzied ghosts trying to impart crucial messages. Snatches of orchestras, rock bands, opera and bagpipes came and went, mixed chaotically with television and radio excerpts, as if someone was spinning a gigantic tuning dial. It was utterly bewildering. Freddie sat, open mouthed, trying to work out who was playing this trick on him. It wasn’t some sort of birthday surprise, was it? If so, it was backfiring badly. He was scared stiff.
Light cut into the bedroom around the heavy curtains from the full moon outside, illuminating the wall opposite and the vivid colours of his majestic World Map. Freddie’s gaze was drawn to India. He tried to look away, but it felt like his eyeballs were being dragged by magnets back towards the map. All about him the tumult increased. The sounds were searing his eardrums and now there seemed to be a growing wind coursing around the room as well.
As Freddie continued to stare at the map, it suddenly started to pucker, showing the relief of cities, mountains and rivers. Freddie could not believe his eyes. His gaze was drawn upwards over the northern border India shared with Nepal. Completely against his will and with no control, his focus shot towards the capital, Kathmandu. Freddie blinked, trying to clear his head. He had to be seeing things, surely. The map appeared to be completely alive. Elephants and buses, people, planes, boats and trains sprang to life and began streaming across it, like ants in a forest. It was like his whole bedroom wall had become a vivid projection of the earth from the sky. It was alive. Freddie began backing away towards his pillows and clutched at the mattress.
Then, with a sudden and irresistible wrench, an unseen force ripped him away from his bed. He tried to hang on by clawing at the wooden headboard behind his pillow, but his body was stretched horizontally a foot above his duvet, which suddenly shot out from underneath him and joined the tornado of socks, pants and dirty washing dancing frantically around his room. Try as he might, he could not shift his gaze from Uncle Patrick’s map. It appeared to have an absolute and unbreakable hold over him.
“Help! Stop it now! I’ve had enough. It’s not funny any more. Dad! Mum! Stop it. Please!”
Now the map seemed to grow until it filled his entire field of vision. His eyes were drawn roughly eastwards, from Kathmandu to a place called Namche Bazaar, the letters of which dissolved, as tiny mountain tops thrust through the parchment in their place. Freddie’s desperate last grip on the pine frame was broken and he hurtled towards the wall.
“No! Please ... No! Help!”
There was a thundering crack, like ice splitting on a frozen lake, as a huge tear appeared in the map. Beyond it, Freddie could see a tunnel; an endless vortex of swirling bright lights. The wall of his bedroom was melting and splitting, creating a gaping hole. The plaster and brickwork had become fluid.
“Help!” he tried to scream, but the sound was lost among a thousand other shouts. “Help me!” he cried again, but all the voices seemed to echo and mock him simultaneously. Freddie was speeding feet first towards the widening gap and it parted just enough to allow him through, accompanied by a truly deafening sound, as if a thousand sheets of paper were all torn at once.

He desperately tried to hang on to the jagged edge of the hole in his bedroom wall, but the bricks dissolved in his grasp……..

Giveaway is now closed.

Winners are named in the comments.

Clive Mantle is giving away five paperback copies of his fabulous bookThe Treasure at the Top of the World.”

All you need to do is answer this question:

Can you identify the historical hero Freddie, Ruby and Connor will meet in book 4?


• The man you are looking for was born in 1918.
• He was arrested and imprisoned in 1962.
• His prison number was 46664.
• He spent 27 years behind bars.
• In 1993, our mystery man won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside F. W. de Klerk.

Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Giveaway Rules

• Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm BST on March 25th 2019.
• You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is only open to residents of the Internationally.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• Winners will be announced in the comments.
• Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The People’s Book Prize

It would mean a great deal to Clive if you could vote for The Treasure at the Top of the World.

You can vote HERE!

The Treasure at the Top of the World

 is available to purchase:

Or, ask your local bookstore.

Audiobook available from April 2019

Clive Mantle

Clive Mantle is a much-loved British actor, a star of both stage and screen for over 40 years. He is perhaps best known for playing Little John in Robin of Sherwood, Great Jon Umber in Game of Thrones, Simon Horton in The Vicar of Dibley and Mike Barratt in Casualty. His voice is also well known from his work on over 180 audio books, and voicing animated characters, including Gator in Thomas the Tank Engine...

...And, he is now a published Author.

'The Treasure at the Top of the World' was released on 24th May 2018.

Connect with Clive: WebsiteThe Adventures of Freddie MaloneFacebookTwitter.

The Treasure at the Top of the World by Clive Mantle.
Publication Date: November 21, 2019
Award Publications Limited 
eBook & Paperback; 203 Pages


  1. Hopefully right, the answer is Nelson Mandela

  2. Great interview & fantastic giveaway. My answer is Nelson Mandela. Thanks for a chance to enter. Zoe Kirkby.

  3. I was very young but I remember we talked about it in school cause it was a big thing. The answer is or at least my guess is Nelson Mandela. /Andreas Wollarz

    1. Andreas Wollarz you have won a copy of Clive's book. Please email me to claim your prize!

  4. I am guessing Nelson Mandela, I hope it’s correct! Xxx

  5. Nelson Mandela would be my guess. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this book!

    1. Anita Carter you have won a copy of Clive's book. Please email me to claim your price!

  6. Christine Button13 March 2019 at 09:18

    Great interview, Clive. I would love a copy of your book for my godson. The answer is Nelson Mandela.

  7. The historical hero Freddie, Ruby and Connor will meet in book 4 is Nelson Mandela.

  8. I would love to win a copy of this book for my daughter, it sounds right up her street. The answer is Nelson Mandela.

  9. And the winners are: Andreas Wollarz • Laura Cragg • Anita Carter • Christine Button • Kelly E. Please email me your addresses to

  10. I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming!.

  11. Your positive tone and encouraging words are just what I needed today. Thank you for spreading such a positive message
    wooden world map for wall


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx