Robin: Amadans, also known as Stroke Lads, are ugly shortish characters who go around temporarily paralyzing humans who are up to no good, heaven knows why. They seems to have gone overboard with the moral righteousness, though, as about a generation ago they started exiling their own people for bad behaviour, sending them to the NetherWorld, a cold grey country without enough food. Amadans sent there turn green for some reason, perhaps to bring some colour back into their lives, as their home country is highly coloured – with “scarlet hills and yellow forests, blue fields and purple farmhouses”.

Amadans seem to be a bit of a cross between gnomes and pixies. They have their own website (well, who doesn’t?) but unusually have somehow made it a portal between their country and the computer screen. Quite a neat bit of magic considering they don’t seem to have any past “the Stroke”, and they seem to be at the technological level of lobbing rocks at each other. And what do they use it for? To bring humans through “to help”, though with a little gumption on their part they wouldn’t have needed any help.

A power-hungry ogre called Haranga, three times as big and ten times as ugly as your average amadan, is trying to organize the NetherWorlders to revolt. However, a violent aversion to porridge is his Achilles heel. The admittedly silly story is told with tons of brio and is exciting in parts – made me hold my breath a couple of times!

The sequel Amadans Alert has Haranga reformed and popping over into human land to try to compensate for interfering with the effectiveness of the Stroke. But he leaves the door open, so to speak, and a couple of human criminals consequently wander into the colourful country. Shamelessly eavesdropping on the “ugly garden gnomes”, they realize what trouble the Amadans have been causing them all these years. They not unfairly characterize them as “a bunch of do-gooding fairies” and devise a dastardly plot to use the portal technology against the little nuisances. Meanwhile Haranga’s big sister Sonya has woken up and comes looking for her missing brother.