I am trying to find the title of a book that I read in the late 90s early 00s.

I think the book was part of a trilogy. This is what I can remember about the story, a teenage boy leads a normal life until a man comes to him in a van. The man is an alien and and the van is a space craft. The vans name is Bes (I think). And it travels from USA to Africa in minutes. The man can change his disguise he turns his skin colour but before doing so the boy sees his real skin, I think he has horns or lumps on his face.

There is a war between this alien race and another and the boy plays an important role in it. They travel from earth to a mother ship called Tyson Grip (or something). And the alien home world is called Priam 5 (or something).

Another thing I remember, the boy is hit and falls on the floor of the van and the carpet starts to shape around him become extremely comfortable for him.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! You might be able to make this question stronger by checking out the suggestions and editing any additional details you recall into your question.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 18:53
  • As I started reading this, I was thinking "The Last Starfighter" but none of the names are remotely close...
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 18:57
  • I checked "The Last Starfighter" but no it's not.
    – Kozure47
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 19:05
  • 1
    I immediately thought of "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel", by Robert Heinlein. I know that's not the answer but it's still one of the best of Heinlein's juvenile's - and the first book I can remember reading. And given that I call my dogs and my kids "Hey, you!" a lot (I've got a great memory. Not much of it, mind you, but what there is, is really great! :-) remembering a story I first read 55 years ago is something of a recommendation. Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


Searching for novel alien spacecraft "disguised as a van" got me Children's sci-fi book with an alien named Yacob looking for a kid with technology, which references the spaceship disguised as a van, a teenager, and an alien. The answer there was Hard Drive by Graham Marks, first book of the Strange Hiding Place trilogy/fix-up.

Cover of *Hard Drive*

‘Eleven years ago the Tylurians, an alien race, hid something on Earth in a very strange place. Now they need it back. Only they need to find it first. The Tylurian’s secret is so terrible that it would mean the annihilation of their arch-enemy the Vad-Raatch. The Vads will do anything to stop the recovery of this secret, and thanks to a well-placed spy, they are very close. The Tylurians have Dez, an eleven year-old earthling.

Strange Hiding Place is first-rate science-fiction. The action is non-stop. Graham Marks describes phenomenal aerial and space combats as well as a gritty street-fight in Nigeria and urban warfare in New York. Wherever Dez and the Tylurian Yakob go there is fear of subterfuge. People are not always what they appear, and sometimes Dez cannot even trust what he hears! The science is fantastically futuristic. Yakob travels around in a biologically engineered bio-syntonic intelligence that can morph from car to plane to space ship as well as warp in time. Amusingly Dez calls her Bess. She can cloak and display a sophisticated surveillance array as well as worm out intelligence from computer systems.

The characters Dez and Yakob are central to the story. They are in many ways both homeless. Dez’s parents are dead and Yakob is 300,000 light-years from home. This shared circumstance becomes a realistic basis for their friendship. It also gains the reader’s sympathy. Consequently there are moments of genuine sadness and cause for concern. As the story progresses, Graham Marks perfectly balances Dez’s change from teenage sloth to galactic hero without diminishing the underlying pain of his circumstances. Strange Hiding Place is a highly entertaining and recommended read for children aged 10 years plus. Be prepared for a surprising twist at the end!’ – WriteAway

‘An adopted 11-year-old boy and girl and a Jack Russell dog are the unwitting carriers of the code to end a war between two alien groups, which could easily bring about the destruction of a planet. Whilst the two factions struggle to gain access to the DNA of this unfortunate trio, they are subject to terrible dangers and barely escape fatality innumerable times. It’s very exciting stuff!

  • 2
    If this is a match, you can accept it by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons. It will be a dupe of the previously accepted answer, but that's no censure on you. It's just site bookkeeping.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 19:16
  • Wow. I literally can't remember another review that's so blatantly oversold the subject matter. I nearly expected the quote to end with "/s"! :-)
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 19:35

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.