One of my favourite authors of adult books is C.J. Sansom, who writes the Shardlake series, crime thrillers set in the time of Henry VIII, so whenever I find similar children's books I am always really excited. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands is such a book and I devoured this in one fabulous weekend on the sofa! Set in London in 1665, the time of George I, it really does make you feel like you have travelled back in time. The sights, smells of the city come clearly out of Kevin Sands' writing.
Christopher is a young apothecary's apprentice. He is learning from his master, Benedict Blackthorn, all about mixing potions and remedies to cure illness. But what Christopher doesn't realise is that he is being taught also the skills required to keep a secret, a secret so big, so important, that others will kill mercilessly to find.
After a series of murders Christopher finds himself on the run, with very few, other than a couple of friends, willing to help. He must solve the coded message, avoiding both the killers and the authorities who want him silenced. This is an explosive book... in more ways than one!!
Even more exciting is that this book is the first of a series, with the second, Mark of The Plague, out in early September.