Dave Wimblett’s The Hoards of Surrey was billed as a ‘very British treasure hunt’ but with the likes of The Goonies & Stand By Me passed around as a comparison it HAD to be one I took a look at.
It tells the story of a search for riches triggered by Mike McKenzie’s forced visit to a Museum with his Mum where the discovery of a book of nearby locations that are worth checking out. Cue him rallying his friends Li, Nathan, Indy and Jack, into the adventure and while they are firmly skeptical about pretty much EVERYTHING he is saying, they are all in because it’s their friend…..and something to do.
They blag their way through any questions around what they are up to with a mix of slick planning, sarcasm and gung-ho teenage bravado that has a crucial honesty to it. The group of friends go from doubters to diggers when there’s a mere hint that this could all be legit and while they are all firmly focused on getting their hands on the loot, they are still all about living the lives of teenagers on the brink of becoming adults.
That all seems simple enough for them to work their through each of the clues but there’s a secret group lurking in the shadows known as The Order of Surrey that have them in their sights. As they begin making their progress in getting hold of some tangible clues, it’s clear that they’re going to have to keep an eye on the prize, watch their backs and try to get a pint with that fake ID as a group to make it through.
Dave weaves a very natural group of friends together which in itself is challenge enough but to then have that play out in the midst of an adventure that you are hooked into from the beginning then takes it to another level. The layers of the story are crucial to making that all work and between the hunt that’s on the go, the BIG plans they each have for their share of the rewards and the dark society following their every move, it’s able to tick many more boxes than may have appeared at first.
Backing that up is Rory Donald’s artwork that captures a dream-like vibe to a beautiful part of the world before drawing us in with the excitement of the discoveries being made by the group and the grim realities of a secret society aiming to intervene. The characters themselves are well formed & unique enough to make sure that the mix of friends feels like the kind of group that would evolve from school and linger through into the type of collective that have each others back. That’s all polished off by Ken Reynolds lettering who has a fair bit to do on some sections but it’s all put together to keep things flowing exactly as it needs to.
That creative combination leaves The Hoards of Surrey delivering on every element it makes a promise – the thrill of adventure, the connections in those character relationships and the risks emerging from an unknown entity watching your every move, all make this a series with appeal for all ages. Humour, mystery and the possibilities of a BIG discovery changing the lives of it’s characters all feel like a very real mix of element and with the core group giving the story heart and breathing life into it……there’s no doubt that I’ll be on-board for the whole series.
You can catch-up with this and the newest part of the series in the campaign link below:
You can also keep up to date with the creators on the links below too: