This is a gripping mystery-adventure set in the 1930s interwar period about a character desperately searching for his identity. Raised by a strange nanny in Sicily, Vango grows up with one friend, a priest Zefiro, who lives in a monastery hidden from sight. On reaching adulthood, Vango decides to follow in Zefiro's steps, but at the moment he is taking his holy orders at Notre Dame in Paris, he is falsely accused of a crime and has to go on the run. This is a breathless and highly cinematic story that follows Vango travelling by Zeppelin across Europe from Stromboli to Nazi Germany, from Scotland to the Soviet Union, climbing the rooftops of Paris, crossing the paths of arms traffickers, crooked policemen, Russian spies and even Stalin. This is a literary adventure on grand scale by an award-winning author. It is a brilliantly researched novel. De Fombelle invites English readers to view a familiar period of history with fresh eyes.
Awards for Toby Alone include: Prix Saint-Exupery 2006 (France), Prix Tam Tam 2006 (France), Prix Sorcieres 2007 (France), Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire 2007 (France), Prix Andersen 2007 (Italy), Prix Versele 2008 (Belgium), Crayon d'argent 2008 (The Netherlands), French IBBY List of Honour 2008, and, Winner of the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation 2009.