“The Assassin’s Curse,” the third book of the Blackthorn Key series by Kevin Sands, is another winner! Christopher Rowe, apothecary apprentice, has been drawn into a complex and dangerous mission. His friends, Tom and Sally, accompany him to the king’s chambers in England and onward to the Louvre in France. Christopher’s mission? Solving a centuries-old curse on the French throne. This Blackthorn Key book will continue to delight middle school readers (and adults!) with its twists and turns, wild antics, and unusual cyphers.
From the outset, Christopher and his accomplices battle an unknown assassin, a man of great strength and cunning. Christopher relies heavily upon his poignant memories of Master Benedict for strength and insight in a race to save the entire royal family of France. Kevin Sands weaves a complex plot through the streets of Paris, its nasty cemetery of rotting bodies, and the bizarre adoration of Louis XIV. Yes, we get to watch the Sun King as he awakens and eats breakfast. Yikes! And yes, there are deaths in this book (although not as many as in Mark of the Plague!).
With so much to enjoy, I especially appreciated Master Benedict’s legacy of love for Christopher, the resolution that Sally finds in Paris, and the delightfully complex clues which lead our valiant threesome into a fight for their lives. The Assassin’s Curse is played out on a vast scale but still highlights Tom’s loyalty, Christopher’s sharp mind, and the dark humor which will have you laughing out loud. The ending is intense and the outcome seems dire. It’s a masterpiece of mystery, of a battle between good and evil. To cap it off, the author leaves us hanging…. There MUST be a fourth in this series!
*** I only review books which I can highly recommend. I read a lot of 3 -and 4-star books, but it’s the 5-star winners which make it to my blog. ***