Monday, October 5, 2015

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

Cover image for The Blackthorn keyChristopher is apprenticed to a kindly apothecary in London, circa 1600.  When apothecaries start to get murdered, and there is talk of a secret cult of the Archangel, Christopher begins to get worried and warns his master to be careful.  Little does he know that his master is secretly preparing him for the greatest and most dangerous adventure of his life. This book received several good reviews.  There is a lot here to like.  The characters are sympathetic and dimensional.  It is fun to see Christopher use his wits to outsmart men older and more powerful than himself. The setting is carefully drawn and researched.  Sands includes a lot of chemistry in the story and readers with a scientific inclination might have fun looking up all the chemical reactions Christopher uses and figuring out how they work. The one thing that bothered me, though, was the violence.  There is just a little too much description of people getting their heads bashed in or their limbs chopped with an ax. I don't think I was always so put off by violence,  but the older I get the more sensitive I have become.  So if violence in books doesn't really bother you, you will probably like this a well crafted, historical, MacGyver type mystery. The author left the ending open for a sequel.  I am not sure if I will read it or not. (371 p)

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