'The story I'm going to tell is true. It happened to me. It is a tale of Gunpowdertown'. Life for Cristal has been upside down for a long time. She can't even remember a time before the war began. Before potatoes for every meal and bombs raining down from the sky. Before being forced to shelter in the dark, damp cellars. Then one day, Cristal's home is turned into a pile of rubble and dust five metres high. But a chance offer saves her family. They move to the safety of a wealthy suburb, camping out amongst the chandeliers and family portraits of someone else's house. That is until the dreaded Russians roll into Vienna and move in too. It includes exclusive material: in the Backstory you can test your kwledge of the book, and learn more about the Second World War; Vintage Children's Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives; discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Christine Nostlinger is an Austrian writer and one of the most popular writers in Europe today. Her books have been translated into many languages and a number of her books have been turned into films in Germany. She has won numerous awards including the the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1984 and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2003. She is married and has two daughters.