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  • 16 of 17 copies available at BC Interlibrary Connect. (Show)
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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Holdable? Status Due Date
Prince Rupert Library J Sand (Text) 33294002076891 Juvenile Fiction Volume hold Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781481446525
  • ISBN: 1481446525
  • Physical Description: print
    regular print
    371 pages ; 22 cm
  • Publisher: New York : Aladdin, 2015.

Content descriptions

Summary, etc.: In 1665 London, fourteen-year-old Christopher Rowe, apprentice to an apothecary, and his best friend, Tom, try to uncover the truth behind a mysterious cult, following a trail of puzzles, codes, pranks, and danger toward an unearthly secret with the power to tear the world apart.
Subject: Apprentices -- Juvenile fiction
Pharmacists -- Juvenile fiction
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction
Secret societies -- Juvenile fiction
Paranormal fiction
Great Britain -- History -- Charles II, 1660-1685 -- Juvenile fiction
Topic Heading: Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award nominee 2017
Red Cedar fiction nominee 2016/2017

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2015 September #2
    *Starred Review* For most orphans in seventeenth-century London, life is cruel and short. Christopher Rowe is one of the lucky few: chosen for an apprenticeship to a kind and brilliant apothecary, Benedict Blackthorn, Christopher is happily learning to solve complex intellectual puzzles and concoct everything from healing potions to gunpowder. But this idyll is not destined to last—someone is murdering the apothecaries of London. On Christopher's fourteenth birthday, Blackthorn is killed, the shop ransacked, and suspicion falls on the young apprentice. Beleaguered and on the run, his only assistance the help of his friend Tom, Christopher must follow his master's last instructions, written as a series of puzzles, to uncover the secret superweapon sought by his master's murderers—and then decide what to do with it. Sands' thrilling debut is full of twists, turns, and ingenious codes and riddles. At the same time, the book also brings Reformation England to life in exquisite period detail, exploring the roots of modern science, medicine, and explosives, and Christopher's moral dilemma of what to do with a doomsday weapon is both touching and timeless. This is the kind of story that cuts across genres to appeal to a wide range of children. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
  • Horn Book Guide Reviews : Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring
    Orphan and apothecary's apprentice Christopher Rowe lives a happy, hardworking life in seventeenth-century London until a string of murders comes too close, killing his mentor, Master Benedict Blackthorn. Using his training in codes and medicines and his quick mind, Christopher must discover the killer without getting killed himself. Sands's adventurous, fast-paced debut will keep readers on the edge of their seats from page one.
  • Kirkus Reviews : Kirkus Reviews 2015 July #2
    It is 1665 London, and the streets are filled with orphans, thieves, madmen, and a few young apprentices as eager to have fun as to learn their trades. Fourteen-year-old Christopher is luckier than most. The apothecary Master ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Benedict Blackthorn is both intelligent and kind, forgiving both Christopher's mistakes as well as his ill-planned pranks. But when the Cult of the Archangel kills his master, Christopher is determined to complete his master's work and bring the killers to justice. However, all he has for help are his friend, baker's son Tom, and a hastily scribbled coded message from his master. This stunning and smart mystery is made even better by well-researched historical detail, intriguing characters, and genuinely funny moments. Whether accidentally shooting the shop's taxidermed bear with his homemade gun powder or outsmarting a ruthless cult of killers, Christopher makes a terrific pro tagonist, but it's his love for his friends and master as well as his fearless intellectual curiosity that make him a true hero. An epigraph sagely, if unnecessarily, warns against employing the many 17th-century remedies. While many readers will love the story, it is unlikely they will try a recipe for saltpeter that involves marinating pigeon droppings in urine—but they will revel in reciting it at dinnertime. An author's note discusses standardized spelling and the Gregorian vs. Julian calendars. A spectacular debut. (Historical mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
  • Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2015 June #5

    First-time novelist Sands has written an exciting and self-assured tale of alchemy and dark secrets set during the late-17th-century reign of King Charles II. Fourteen-year-old orphan Christopher Rowe is lucky to be apprenticed to a kindly apothecary, Master Benedict Blackthorn. But someone—the Cult of the Archangel, it is rumored—is murdering London's apothecaries, believing that members of the Apothecary's Guild are concealing a dangerous secret. Christopher is an easygoing boy, fond of pranks and experiments (the book opens with his ill-advised and ill-fated attempt at mixing up some gunpowder), but after Master Benedict is assaulted, he finds himself on the run, pursued by the murderous henchmen of a rival apothecary and the dangerous Lord Richard Ashcombe, His Majesty's Warden. Sands adeptly balances the novel's darker turns with moments of levity and humor, and fills the book with nicely detailed characters and historical background—plus lots of explosions. It's a story that should have broad appeal, while especially intriguing readers with an existing interest in chemistry, history, and decoding puzzles. Ages 10–14. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Sept.)

    [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC
  • School Library Connection : School Library Connection Reviews 2016 March

    A murder mystery set in 17th century London, this action-packed historical fiction novel doesn't let up until the very end. Christopher Rowe is an apothecary apprentice during the days of Charles II's return to the throne. The streets of London are dangerous, but Londoners are excited to have their king back. Christopher's master is kind, and Christopher is thriving. But the murder of some of the city's most prominent apothecaries has everyone worried. Christopher suspects a rival apothecary might be behind the murders. After his master is found dead, Christopher races to save the world from a terrible power. There are graphic descriptions of torture and injuries, so this is better suited for mature readers.

    - Grades 5-Up - Charlie Leckenby - Recommended
  • School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2015 August

    Gr 4–6—An auspicious debut middle grade novel. Set in the 1600s, the story revolves around Christopher Rowe, the apprentice to a Master Apothecary. After losing his master, Christopher begins to unravel a series of complex codes that his master had, unbeknownst to Chris, been preparing him to solve all along. The more that the protagonist uncovers, the more he finds himself in danger, along with his loyal-to-a-fault best friend. The story is well paced, managing not only to keep readers hooked but also second guessing everything they think they know. Sands integrates a series of fun and interesting riddles and codes with chemistry concepts—no easy feat. The ending is dynamic and rewarding, with just the right blend of the fantastical and realistic. One of the true triumphs is the author's ability to create a character who feels accurate for the time period, while also displaying a modern sensibility that will keep readers engaged. The action does get intense but would still be appropriate for upper elementary school students. VERDICT This is an excellent story for readers who enjoy puzzles, action, and fantasy; keep an eye out for future installments.—Chad Lane, Easton Elementary, Wye Mills, MD

    [Page 91]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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