Friday, October 2, 2015

The Blackthorn Key

                                                         

The Blackthorn Key
by Kevin Sands
Aladdin, 2015.  371 pgs. Fiction

     Christopher Rowe feels blessed to have been rescued from an orphanage to serve as apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn, apothecary. Chosen for his ability to make good soup, Christopher is soon learning to mix more frightening ingredients and he and his friend Tom manage to unman the shop's stuffed bear when Christopher mixes gunpowder and fires off a makeshift cannon. But soon Christopher's mischief gives way to much more serious concerns:  someone is systematically killing and gutting the apothecaries of London. Master Benedict is preoccupied and often absent, and rumors of a mysterious Cult of the Archangel begin to circulate as the deaths draw ever closer to Christopher's beloved master's shop.  Filled with secret codes, deadly potions, explosions, guy humor,   powerful friendships, baleful treachery, and terrific period detail, The Blackthorn Key is a cracking good read for sixth graders on up, including their parents and grandparents.

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