Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sands, Kevin. The Blackthorn Key.

Sands, Kevin.  The Blackthorn Key.  Simon & Schuster/Aladdin  2015  384p  $17.99  ISBN 978-1-4814-4651-8  ms/hs  Historical fiction     E-BN       

Christopher Rowe is the adopted apprentice to the brilliant apothecary Master Benedict Blackthorn, who has given Christopher a life of learning, a home, and love beyond his wildest dreams.  However, when Master Benedict is murdered by the Cult of the Archangel that are searching for a secret recipe that could destroy the world, Christopher and his best friend Tom spring into action to solve the encrypted warning left behind by the deceased apothecary.  As the pair faces danger after danger against those seeking the recipe, Christopher uses the knowledge instilled by his master, and Tom uses his dedication to his friend to decipher the message and destroy those tracking them.

In this fast
-paced, thrilling suspense novel, Kevin Sand brings to life his story through descriptive language and detailed imagery.  The reader is drawn in and cheers for the duo as they try to find the murderers, and ultimately yet unknowingly, save the world.  The character development is strong and precise, as Christopher and Tom demonstrate the antics and thought processes typical of adolescent boys.  The action never stops making this an engaging page-turner. Between the fascinating story, the suspense, and the wonderful descriptions, this is a novel that will excite and delight young-adult readers, and it is highly recommended, with the caveat that the reviewer read an uncorrected proof, and hopes that the story remains unchanged at publication.  It is recommended as a basic book for any middle- or high-school library and will appeal to young adult readers.   

Summary: In 1665 London, Christopher Rowe, apprentice to apothecary Master Benedict Blackthorn and his best friend Tom search to find the Cult of the Archangel and save the world from destruction using the encrypted note left behind by his murdered master. 

Apothecaries-Fiction, Murder-Fiction                        --Virginia McGarvey

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