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Lionboy (original language English , original title Lionboy ), a children's book trilogy by the British team of authors Zizou Corder , was first published in 2003 by Puffin Books in London. Zizou Corder is a team of writers made up of mother and daughter: Louisa Young and ten-year-old Isabel Adomakoh. Isabel's father comes from Ghana and provides the story with the important African storyline. The main character acquires his knowledge of cat language in Africa when he is accidentally scratched by a leopard cub. Included with the text are songs and rhymes from Ghana and some drawings.

The trilogy comprises the volumes:



Volume 1 (The Abduction)

Charlie Ashanti's parents are scientists; they live in London in the near future and asthma has become a veritable plague. Charlie's mother discovered a formula that could cure the disease, but then she and Charlie's father were kidnapped by gangsters hired by an unscrupulous pharmaceutical company. In search of his parents, Charlie uses his secret weapon: he speaks cat, and with it he can talk to cats as well as real lions. By chance Charlie succeeds in boarding the Circe as a stowaway, which turns out to be a floating circus, populated by clowns, trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, acrobats and even a lady with a full beard. The stars of the ring are the lions, from which it soon follows that she and Charlie become friends. The lion tamer Maccomo is a villain who drugged his animals, and the classic chase takes place, which leads through Paris and on the Orient Express, straight into the private car of the King of Bulgaria to Venice.

Volume 2 (The Hunt)

In Venice, half submerged in water, where a doge rules again , Charlie and the lions are in the palace of the King of Bulgaria. The king went on to Bulgaria. For diplomatic reasons, the king's secret service chief wants to present the lions to the Doge and therefore keeps them and Charlie in the palace. With the help of the lions and a gondolier friend who mobilizes the Venetian population against the corrupt Doge , Charlie finally succeeds in overthrowing the Doge. You will take a solar speed boat to Essaouira in Morocco, home of both the lions and the lion tamer. In Essaouira, Charlie meets his parents again, who were freed from a syndicate camp by a cat friend of Charlie. In this camp, the inmates are made submissive not with brutal force, but with a drug mixed with the breath. Charlie can overwhelm Maccomo with the lions; the lions return home to their group, where some older people still know them. They take Maccomo with them and promise to keep him prisoner for an indefinite period of time.

Volume 3 (The Truth)

In Essaouira, Maccomo manages to free himself and kidnap Charlie on a ship. The cat that freed the parents and a chameleon that speaks human and animal languages ​​have also come on board. Parents and friends in turn rent ships and follow them, with some of the lions as stowaways. All drive (sometimes with detours) west in the direction of the Caribbean to the headquarters of the Syndicate. There, Charlie is said to be won over to the syndicate by the respiratory drug, but is immune to the drug, which he keeps a secret. Charlie's father, who is also immune from a previously acquired anti-drug, can sneak into the headquarters as a researcher on the pretext of wanting to work for the Syndicate. Charlie and his father succeed in stopping the air being poisoned; there is an uprising at headquarters and a happy ending.


Charlie and his family

  • Charlie Ashanti (12 Years)
  • Aneba Ashanti , his father
  • Magdalen Start , his mother
  • Mabel Stark , his aunt, which he only finds out at the end of the second volume
  • Rafi Sadler , his cousin, which he only learns at the beginning of the third volume and keeps to himself until the end

The Lions

  • The young lion , the most adventurous of the lions and Charlie's best friend
  • The oldest lion , father of Elsina and the young lion
  • The three lionesses , they speak very little, they have different colors, one is yellowish, the other is silver, the last is bronze
  • Elsina , the young lion girl
  • Primo , actually not a lion, but a Smilodon fatalis that was cloned by DNA in a laboratory

Other animals

  • Sergei , a cheeky, tenacious North English cat who is one of Charlie's closest allies
  • Ninu , a clever chameleon who knows almost all languages, even those of computers
  • Troy , Rafi's dog

Thibaudets Royal Swimming Circus and the Philharmonic Equestrian Academy

  • Major Maurice Thibaudet , the owner of the floating circus
  • Maccomo , the cruel lion tamer who is jealous of Charlie for his ability to speak cat. Maccomo filled them with drugs for years to keep them well behaved on the show. Charlie, trying to help the lions escape, uses Maccomo's drugs to numb himself. When the lions have escaped, he travels to Morocco, where he expects Charlie and the lions. But the lions overwhelm him and take him prisoner. However, he escapes and kidnaps Charlie - now even angrier - and takes him to the headquarters of the Syndicate, on San Antonio, near Haiti.
  • Pirouette , star artist on the trapeze, has a good relationship with Charlie
  • Madame Barbue , the bearded lady, gets on well with Charlie
  • Mabel Stark , Maccomo's ex-girlfriend, tiger tamer (her tigers love her, not like Maccomo's lions)
  • Hans , a boy of Charlie's age, teaches the learned pig
  • Julius , a boy Charlie's age, son of a clown
  • the twins , two girls who always say the same thing
  • the Hungarian who works with trained bees
  • Aero diabolo , tightrope walker with the twins


  • King Boris of Bulgaria , a childlike and funny man who offers Charlie all the help he can give him.
  • Edward , the right hand of King Boris. He accompanies Charlie to Palazzo Bulgaria in Venice because King Boris has to continue to Bulgaria ::. He's supposed to help Charlie and the Lions get to Africa, but has other plans. He wants to give the lions to the unloved Doge of Venice because he doesn't have a good relationship with King Boris. Charlie notices the dizziness and with the help of the gondoliers can overthrow the doge.
  • Claudio , King Boris's personal gondolier, helped overthrow the Doge
  • The Doge , the corrupt and selfish ruler of Venice who is overthrown.

The syndicate and its employees

  • Rafi Sadler , who kidnapped Charlie and his parents to fill his wallet but becomes a victim of the Syndicate, is also Charlie's cousin
  • Winner and Sid , criminals hired to transport Charlie's parents
  • Sally Ann , Associate, Charlie's personal companion on San Antonio
  • Aunt aunt , employee
  • The chairman of the board, the head of the syndicate, lets himself be stunned by his own brainwashing air
  • Alex , associate, assistant to Charlie's father Aneba on the Syndicate Island of San Antonio


The story takes place in the near future. The oil is almost completely used up, only rich people are allowed to drive in gasoline cars, because the cars not only need gasoline, but also cause asthma , the worst disease at the time. Airplanes can no longer fly and shipping is once again dominant. The world seems to function efficiently with solar and wind power.

The superpower is only referred to as an empire and there are indications in the text that this is the current United States. Europe seems to be under the control of this empire. The world has changed a lot due to global warming and other natural influences. The best example is Venice, which has sunk half into the sea due to the rising water level.


Impact history

The trilogy has been translated into 36 languages. Steven Spielberg (Dreamworks) has secured the film rights for Lionboy.

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