How exciting to read historical fiction in the middle-grade category! My son and I enjoyed reading this novel immensely and we hope to read more by this author.
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Simon & Schuster (Aladdin imprint)
Published: Sept 8, 2015
Hardcover, 384 pages
Content: PG-12 for some graphic violence
“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”
Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way.
But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani & Son
My son is an extremely picky reader, so when we find a book that catches his attention from the first chapter onward we plunge on. Well this book had "everything you want in a book" according to my son. It had mystery, suspense, great characters, action and humor.
London, 1665. Christopher Rowe is an orphan who becomes an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn, an apothecary with a keen interest in research and a keeper of secrets. When London's apothecaries begin to get murdered by a mysterious cult, Christopher fears for his master. When the unthinkable happens, Christopher must use all his skill to solve the puzzle his master gives him that holds the key to great power.
The story itself takes place within a few days that are full of suspense as Christopher is thrust into one dangerous situation after another. He must rely on his wits and what he learned in his master's workshop to piece together the clues before time runs out. Both Christopher and his best friend Tom have a close friendship and they are characters that makes the reader want to cheer. The situations are realistic in that we feel Christopher's deep feelings as he experiences heartbreaking and touching moments in his life.
My son and I loved this book, with my son naming this one of his favorite books. Kevin Sands certainly knows how to spin a tale for reluctant boy readers with an entertaining plot that is both educational and filled with well-executed emotional scenes. We were impressed with this debut novel and hope to read more by this author.
Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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