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‘East End’ and ‘Eastern European’ boys clash on the canals, but to escape local gangsters and police they must join forces, commandeer a boat and make their getaway.
The main characters are brother and sister Jason (12) and Philipppa (10, prefers ‘Phil’), whose mother has died and are looked after by their father. But work pressures, to keep food on the table, means that they are pretty much left to their own devices. Jason and his two friends Rav (12) and Glen (12) spend most of their time roaming around the estate, looking for adventure, fishing in the canal and trying to dream up schemes that will make them money, while Phil tags along for the ride. Although all from different backgrounds (Jason and Phil are white working class, Rav is from Bangladesh and Glen Somalian) they are not tolerant of ‘outsiders’, as is the way on many estates up and down the country. So when Jan and his dad (who are Eastern Europeans) arrive on the scene a feud rapidly develops. We join them when this has already reached epidemic proportions and things are really getting out of hand. Jason’s latest revenge attack leads to an accident on the canal, which damages Jan and (Anton) his father’s boat. This also draws the old sage of the canal (Cromarty) into the conflict, as it’s his boat that the gang eventually take out into the open waters of the East London canal system. The children then have to work together to defeat the local mafia, run by Jason’s uncle Baz, and the Eastern European Mafia – who are after Jan and Anton for double crossing them on their illegal smuggling ring, using the canal system to get contraband into the City under the noses of the police.