It’s been a while since I’ve read a book without magic, and by that I mean a book that contains no magic in the plot. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands, however, does possess the magical quality to transport you into a world of adventure and suspense that will prevent you from accomplishing your daily obligations because you remain glued to the pages (or in my case, the audio).
The story, set in England in the 1660’s, follows 13-year-old Christopher Rowe and his best friend, Tom Bailey, as they endeavor to discover who is behind the recent murders of local apothecaries, a job made more challenging by the fact that Christopher is now on the “hit list.” And, as I said previously, there is no magic in the book, so Christopher and Tom must solve the mystery using only their ingenuity and local supplies. The boys are resourceful, courageous, and loyal, yet they remain boys, complete with the mischievous tendencies and not-thoroughly-thought-through ideas that accompany youth.
Interspersed with humor and suspense, if you or your child are looking for an escape from reality, The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands will provide you just that. This is definitely going on my “favorites” list, and it’s made it in my Top-10 list of books for all ages!
P.S. So far, the second book in the series – Mark of the Plague – is my favorite, mainly because you get to see the true strength of Christopher’s character – generous, loyal, and courageous. While those traits are present in the first book, The Blackthorn Key, they become even more apparent in the Mark of the Plague, where instead of fleeing the city as so many did, Christopher chooses to stay and minister to those in need regardless of the potential danger to his health and to the repercussions it might have for his future career as an apothecary. Christopher also stands up for the dignity of the local town “lunatic.” There are many other examples of Christopher’s loyalty, generosity, and courage, but to see those, you will simply have to read the books yourself.