Hamish X and the Hollow Mountain

Praise for Book I

Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Juvenile Canadian Crime Literature


Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates
has subplots and subsubplots that Cullen populates with heroes, superheroes, and vile, nasty villains. All of which adds up to an action-packed adventure held together by a humorous and clever narrator with a penchant for cliffhangers and riddles…. Just when you think everyone is doomed and there is no way out, Cullen comes up with an imaginative, often ingenious solution to unravel the knot…. Seán Cullen leaves us with a craving for more Hamish X.”

—
The Globe and Mail

“Incorporating humour through aspects such as his story's characterization, narration, and language, Cullen creates an engaging, well-paced narrative with distinctive characters and settings that will keep readers wondering what will happen next.”

—
CM Magazine

“The action, buffoonery, and puns pushed to their limits will have many young readers laughing out loud and keep them entertained from beginning to end.”

—
Edmonton Journal

“Many young readers will be eager to follow Hamish X and his magical boots into their next adventure.”

—
Peterborough Examiner

Praise for Book II

Hamish X and the Hollow Mountain

“Hamish X, mysterious and powerful orphan with his otherworldly boots and fearless demeanour, is back for a second adventure, this time leading his cluster of friends to the remote Kingdom of Switzerland. The evil Mr. Candy and Mr. Sweet are back as well, and it's touch and go who will triumph in this fast-paced and inventive battle between good (kids) and bad (cyborgs). Seán Cullen, a Toronto comedian, has found his legs with
Hollow Mountain
…. The notion of a monarchy hidden inside the Alps, run by a boy-king served by robotic raccoons, is so pleasing that I'm happy to strap in for the ride.” —
Georgia Straight

“But the best contender for the Potter–Snicket throne may be Seán Cullen's Hamish X books. That's because they combine the best elements of both those hits—the adventure-filled plots of the Potter saga and the eccentric narrator of the Snicket tales.”—
The Province

“Cullen delivers an over-the-top action-packed adventure that is filled with buffoonery and zaniness, a compelling narrative about orphans and cyber-robots that will leave young readers laughing and craving more…. Cullen has done a masterful job of interpreting his son's imaginary landscape with an abundance of tomfoolery.”—
Hour
(Montreal)

“Weaving elements of farce, fantasy, hero tales, and science fiction of the more outrageous kind, Cullen concocts a dizzying potion about his hero Hamish X.… Sounds crazy? Well, it is, but it's the kind of craziness that kids lap up.”—
The Muskokan

PUFFIN CANADA

HAMISH X AND THE HOLLOW MOUNTAIN

Comedian
SEÁN CULLEN
was a member of the highly influential musical comedy troupe Corky and the Juice Pigs until 1998. His stage and screen credits include CBC's
Seán Cullen Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
, the Showcase series
Slings and Arrows
, and the Toronto stage production of
The Producers
. He is the winner of three Gemini Awards.

Also by Seán Cullen

Hamish X, Book I:

Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates

Hamish X, Book III:

Hamish X Goes to Providence, Rhode Island

PUFFIN CANADA

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Canada Inc.)

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0745, Auckland, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in a Puffin Canada hardcover by Penguin Group (Canada), a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 2007

Published in this edition, 2008

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (WEB)

Copyright © Seán Cullen, 2007

Illustrations copyright © Johann Wessels, 2007

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Publisher's note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Manufactured in Canada.

ISBN-13: 978-0-14-305312-5

ISBN-10: 0-14-305312-4

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication data available available upon request

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Visit the Penguin Group (Canada) website at
www.penguin.ca

Special and corporate bulk purchase rates available; please see
www.penguin.ca/corporatesales
or call 1-800-810-3104, ext. 477 or 474

For Glen, my father, who could fix anything

Well, hello again and welcome to the second book in the saga of Hamish X. I can only assume that you enjoyed the first book, seeing that you are reading the second. Unless, of course, you prefer to torture yourself by reading things you don't really enjoy.
1
If that is the case, you are very strange indeed and should perhaps find another hobby.

In the first book we shared a wonderful adventure complete with Cheese Pirates, daring escapes, explosions, poop-hurling monkeys, and woolly mammoths. That's not a patch on what's going to happen in the second book. Oh, lucky you.

Since I last narrated to you I have gone on a sabbatical
2
to central Tibet, where I studied with one of the finest storytellers in the world, Ta Lhasi Bo. He is a monk who is renowned for telling stories of incredible length and complexity. He once told a story so long that he died in the middle of it and his audience had to wait until he was reincarnated to finish the tale. Unfortunately, he was reincarnated as a salmon first, then a polar bear, and finally as another Tibetan monk. The process took seventeen years, and many of the original audience members died in the meantime and were reincarnated as various animals and insects. In the end, he couldn't finish the story because all the dogs, cats, mice, lemurs, donkeys, and mosquitoes were making so much noise he couldn't be heard at all.

Ta Lhasi Bo lives in a remote village reached only by catapult. I stayed there for eight months and did an incredible amount of training. He put me through gruelling exercises to improve my stamina and concentration. For example, he forced me to tell a very complicated story while being poked in the buttock with a sharpened yak bone for hours on end. Although it certainly improved my stamina, it didn't do my buttock much good. I have to wear specially designed pants now. My concentration, however, is impossible to break.

And so, fresh from the highlands of Tibet, I bring you the second tale in the series detailing Hamish X's amazing exploits: Hamish X and the Hollow Mountain. The Hollow Mountain is the home of the legendary King of Switzerland.

What's that? Switzerland has no king? It's a republic, you say? That just shows how little you know about the true state of world affairs. Trust me, everything will be explained in the pages to come. Have I ever steered you wrong? Of course I haven't.

Where did I leave you at the end of the first book? Oh, yes! A bit of a cliffhanger!
3
After all, the third lesson taught at the Advanced Narrator's Certification College in Helsinki is Always Leave Them Wanting More.
4
(The first lesson is Have a Story to Tell, which may seem obvious, but I can assure you that many well-intended narrators go down in ruins because they have no idea what they want to write.)
5
The children had defeated the Cheese Pirates and were enjoying their new freedom at the cheese factory in
Windcity. Mr. Kipling had proposed to Mrs. Francis. Parveen had smiled (extremely out of character for him). Then the Grey Agents of the ODA showed up in a helicopter, with a strange woman's voice luring Hamish X into their clutches. Hamish X was in a trance, unable to recognize his companions. Indeed, he even drove one of his famous boots right into Mr. Kipling's stomach. Certainly not the kind of behaviour we've come to expect from Hamish X.

Part 1

TO SWITZERLAND

Chapter 1

Mr. Sweet extended a gloved hand towards Hamish X. “Come,” he said soothingly. “You are finished with them now. Time to come home.”

Mimi shivered and wiped the freezing rain from her eyes. Hamish X, however, was oblivious to the cold water sifting down. He stared at Mr. Sweet and nodded.

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