Robert Swindells novel ‘Stone Cold’ was published in 1993. There are two narrators what make the book more interesting than others. You get to know two different points of view and two different opinions. This story is about a boy called Link who ran away from home because of his Mum’s boyfriend (Vince). After his parents split up he couldn’t bear living in the same house with his mother’s new boyfriend who always picked on him and his sister Carole.
After he leaves he has a run of bad luck and no choice but to end up on the streets of London. Life is hard, cold and unfriendly, until he meets Ginger. His new friend shows him how to survive, where to go for shelter and where the best begging places are. Then Ginger disappears and Link makes a new friend, Gail. He stops worrying about everything else, but other kids are still vanishing. A guy called Shelter is killing all the homeless people. Will it be Link’s turn next?
The main characters in the book are discussed below:
Link: Link is the main character of the book. Link is a 17-year-old boy who left home because of his mom’s boyfriend (Vince). Link is friendly to people but likes to be anonymous as he appears to be running away from past. He was brave as he left home all alone without any help but still moved on in his life and didn’t feel sorry for himself. He, however, wasn’t emotionally stable and couldn’t cope with the situation and ran away from home. He thinks about starting a new life in London and forget about past. He settles in London where a serial killer goes around and kills homeless persons. He tells us his story in a very colloquial way as if you are staying next beside him. Link meets a guy called Ginger who teaches him the tricks of sleeping rough. He also teaches Link where are the best places to beg. After a few days Ginger disappears but soon enough he meets a girl called Gail who then Link falls in love with. I like the character Link, the way he used the strong words to describe his situation is incredible. He was brave enough to face all the odds in life alone in London including the fear of death. I, however, think Link was emotionally unstable and made the wrong decision to leave his home. Link should’ve compromised with the situation and shouldn’t have run away from home. This was proven later on in the story when he suffered much more on the streets of London. I don’t have anything common with Link except that I have strength to face hard life if it comes.
Shelter: Shelter is a 47-year-old man who has retired from army. He is a psychopath serial killer, prowling the streets of London on a mission to rid the city of “dossers,” as he calls them. He talks about street kids and kills many of them, because he hates them “I can clean up the garbage, can’t I? They can’t stop me doing that and I will, by golly I will.” As you can see by the way he talks, he seems dangerous. He is actually making an army of ‘dead people.’ He acts soft from outside that you can’t even think of such a guy can commit a murder. He thinks that he is doing a good job by killing homeless people. He thinks he is an intelligent serial killer as he goes on a killing spree without being caught. He is really confident, or should I say over confident about no one catching him. He persuades people on the street (homeless) to come to his house for free food and a warm bed and when they come he kills them. He keeps the ‘dead people’ army under his floorboard. He buys them shoes and cut their hairs. I dislike this character because of his cruelty to towards homeless people. If u would read this book you will start to make an extremely bad image of shelter in your mind.
Gail: Gail is the girl who Link later on falls in love with. She is from Glasgow. She left home because of her stepfather; this was also a common link between them. When Link and Gail met he was making up his mind to stay on his own after Ginger disappeared. But soon she created a place in Link’s ongoing life. Link thinks that Gail is not what she looks from outside but still he ignores it and falls in love with her. Gail had a supporting role in the book. I liked the way this character came into Link’s life. Gail at the end tells Link that she is not what she posed. She tells that she is a journalist and was doing a research on the life of homeless people and then she left him. Gail seems selfish at this point, but I guess that is how life goes on. At this stage you develop more sympathy towards Link.
The part that I most vividly remember in the novel is when Link was kicked out of the house of the Landlord. Links actually paid about a week’s payment for the rent but on Friday night the Landlord came and asked for more money but link refused and the Landlord threw him out of the house. This was really unfair on Link because he has paid a week’s rent, so he had the right to stay for a full week. I was really enraged over his attitude. I also clearly remember the occasion of betrayal, when Gail told Link that she was doing a report on homeless people and then went away leaving Link alone by himself. That was an emotional scene, which filled my heart with sympathy for Link.
I think the book would equally appeal to boys and girls because of Link and Gail. I would give this book five star rating because it is full of emotions and tells you about the life of homeless people on one hand and brings out the ugly face of our society in which a husband betrays his wife, who in turn betrays her children by bringing in a boyfriend rather than devoting her life to her children. This sad story of Link highlights the tragedy, which the children of broken families had to face in our society. I thought this book was brilliant!! I really enjoyed reading it. I think this was the best book I have read so far, and gives me more reason to read more books. You can make your own image about it, and that makes the book as well as it is.
The author wrote the book in a very gripping manner so it is easy to imagine how Link feels like and what he thinks about. In my point of view the novel is very realistic in its description of the life on the streets. This is no fairy tale. It’s a grim depiction of homelessness, and a sharp criticism of our apathy towards it. I think that Stone cold was a thrilling and gripping story and the way that Robert Swindells captured the evilness of shelter was amazing. This teaches us a lesson of how bad it is living on the street homeless with a serial killer looking for you. As you can see Link shouldn’t have left home. At least he had his mother to look after and who knows what Vince would’ve done to Link’s mother afterwards.
After reading this book I feel very strongly about the rampant problem of broken families, which is perhaps the root cause of homeless people on streets. The message I get is that parents should be responsible for their family. If unfortunately one of the parents betrays his family then the other should sacrifice his or her life for the children. But selfish parents never think of it and then their children rot on the streets…this is what was the story of Link.