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Linus Bailey's tenth birthday, if measured on some kind of “So how did it go then?” scale, would score a one. Maybe a bit less. It started well, but then things went very badly indeed.

Linus' problem is that he makes things up. His mother, for instance, was found living as a head hunter in the Jungles of Borneo. His dad, a man called Nigel who Linus hasn't seen since he was two, is a Ninja Warrior currently living in Japan. His dad fights crime and saves people. Linus' Headmaster is evil and his jumper was knitted by slaves.

Linus Bailey's childhood is my childhood—a childhood where, during one fairly normal winter, the goldfish froze to death in the living room and we kids wrote our names on the ice that formed on the bedroom walls. Surely a life made up was better, warmer, more fun. The only difference between Linus and me is that all his mad stuff came true one frosty tenth birthday...

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  • The day before his tenth birthday, Linus Bailey goes to school and gets into trouble

  • The morning of Linus' birthday reveals a camel, Welsh miners, a frozen woman and other assorted oddness

  • An unpleasant cloud hovers over Linus' school, which seems to have turned into the Evil Lord of Mortar's Evil Castle. And there's a form to sign...

  • Linus doesn't want to go on the school trip but evil forces conspire against him.

  • The sinister forest is damp and dark, and Ninjas are bad with dates.

  • There are things under Linus' bed, including Ellie's scrapbook.  Nigel works out what's going on.

  • An army moves down cabbage road, while dark deeds are afoot in the Evil Mines of Mortar. Torville the pigeon gets in a flap.

  • A battle underground puts Linus at the mercy of the Evil Lord, who has quite a sharp ruler.

  • The aftermath of the battle.

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