By Catherine Johnson

2014 Young Quills Winner, over 12s category

1. There are many, many things that we loved about this book.  The historical setting and sense of place is outstanding.  Johnson really brings to life the world of medical science in eighteenth century London in gripping, gruesome and often gory detail, a world in which anatomical knowledge and surgical procedures are still being developed through dissections and necessary body snatching and grave robbing.  We loved the well-drawn characters of Ezra and Loveday through which issues of race and gender at the time were introduced and the detailed descriptions of Coldbath Fields, Newgate Prison and the Ottoman Embassy.  The language too, perfectly captures the period and shows how much research Johnson has put into her writing. 

The investigation into the murder of Loveday's father, the Magician, though at times seemed a little far fetched, competing with Ezra's own intriguing story and making this more of a forensic mystery thriller than an atmospheric and intriguing historical novel.

By Cramlington Learning Village, Northumberland

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