EXCERPT

 

Benjamin, Mops and Spike have escaped from Bearkingdom-Palace and are determined to find Hide-Park: the fabled place where they believe humans can run free.

 

At the same time  Benjamin's father has embarked on the dangerous search for his mother, with the hope of bringing them all together again.

 

But will Hide-Park be theplace of their dreams - or just that start of another nightmare ...?

Benjamin moved quickly. In next to no time he was at the foot of the bridge. He scanned the bank of trees on the other side for any sign of a guard-bear. He saw none. He looked to his left and right. Again, Benjamin didn't see the slightest hint of any danger. So he started to cross the tree-trunk bridge.

As he moved, Benjamin couldn't help looking down into the chasm. Its sheer sides plummeted down to a bed of jagged rocks. Trickling around these rocks was a thin course of muddy water. The drop looked maybe fifteen or twenty paces deep, Benjamin couldn't be sure. What he was sure about, though, was that anybody unlucky enough to fall into the chasm would break every bone in their body.

Thankful for the solid trunks beneath his feet, Benjamin kept going  until, with a surge of joy he was leaping from the end of the bridge on to the springy, needle-covered earth on the other side of the chasm. He could scarcely believe it. He'd spent his whole life dreaming of this moment and now it had arrived. He was in Hide-Park!

"Come on!" he turned and shouted up at Mops and Spike.

As they scurried down towards him, Benjamin looked for signs that they were being watched. But all he saw was the towering rock wall stretching away to his right and the green, hummock-dotted valley side reaching round to his left.

Arriving at the other side of the bridge, Mops and Spike hesitated until Benjamin repeated: "Come on!"

Mops then led the way, keeping warily to the middle of the three tree-trunks even though the narrow gaps between them had been filled with chippings. Spike followed her, slowly and nervously, gulping whenever he glanced down into chasm. Finally all three of them were together.

"Ready?" said Benjamin.

Mops nodded vigorously. Spike gave a sort of half-nod, half-shrug.

Benjamin turned. Ahead was a winding tunnel of gold-leafed acorn-trees. What delights would they find at the other end? Benjamin couldn't wait to find out.

Boldly and freely he strode forward, in to Hide-Park ...

THE BEAR KINGDOM, BOOK 3: THE HUNTING FOREST

IN A WORLD RULED BY BEARS, HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

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