________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 18 . . . . May 9, 1997

cover Burning Ambition.

Nikki Fisher. Illustrated by Peter Smith.
London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 1996.
Distributed by Raincoat Books Distributor. 162pp., paper, $4.95.
ISBN 1-895555-88-4. CIP.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Donna Doyle.

*** /4

After his mother had left for work, Shaun sat on the side of his bed, tearing pages out of a magazine and dropping them into a wastepaper bin. Casually he struck a match, held it for a while and then, just before the flame touched his fingers, lit a piece of paper and watched the result. It was amazing how quickly the flame grew. He could already feel the heat coming up from it and see black smoke as the paper charred and curled in the bin. Even the green paint on the bin was slowly going brown with the heat, though the red roses were unaffected. Withing seconds, all the paper was alight and the yellow flames were licking up well above the rim of the bin, huungry for more fuel, greedy for anything they could consume.

      Burning Ambition is the fourth in the Accident series by Nikki Fisher. The story takes place in a hospital emergency unit in Great Britain. The author takes us behind the scenes into the lives of both staff and patients. The threat of closure, all too common in health services these days, weighs on the staff and complicates their stressful occupation even more. The characters are well-developed. The main characters are: Ollie, a nurse, who must choose between her love of nursing and her love for a man; and, Shaun, a troubled young man, whose undiagnosed learning disorder leads to a rage against his former teacher and a revenge that brings him to the emergency unit.

      The narrative flows well in step with the pace of an emergency unit. The politics, pleasures and pain are all there. The book also contains a fact sheet on dyslexia - Shaun's problem - a failure to process information which makes reading, writing, spelling and math very difficult. This is easy reading, and doesn't get bogged down by opinion or fact.

Recommended as light reading for adults.

Donna Doyle is a writer, former freelance journalist and former teacher. She is currently a video producer living in Arichat, Nova Scotia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364