This September, our guest will be Kevin Sands, author of the Blackthorn Key Adventures, a series that begins with The Blackthorn Key and follows with its sequel, Mark of the Plague. The third book, The Assassin’s Curse, was released this month.
London, 1665. Fourteen year-old Christopher Rowe is an orphan who, against all odds, has become apprenticed to an apothecary named Benedict Blackthorn. Master Benedict is an honest man, extremely knowledgeable about his trade and most importantly, has great affection for Christopher. But there are rumors of a cult in the city, and when Master Benedict is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Christopher and his friend Tom decide to find out who, or what, killed him. The answer, as it turns out, is nothing Christopher could ever have expected.
In the second book, Mark of the Plague, Christopher and Tom again find themselves searching for hidden answers in London amidst a massive outbreak of the plague. Nothing is quite what it seems, and Christopher’s fast mind, apothecary skills, and code breaking abilities are put to a strenuous test.
The third and most recent book, The Assassin's Curse, follows Christopher, Tom, and their friend Sally as they journey to Paris to uncover the culprits behind multiple assassination attempts on the royal family. The more they investigate, however, the more they become involved in the search for a centuries-old treasure that people are definitely willing to kill for.
Imagine fast-paced, high stakes detective stories set in the 17th century and you have the Blackthorn Key Adventures. The books are absolutely fantastic, with lots of action, mystery, puzzles, and, thanks to Christopher’s profession as an apothecary, lots of things going boom. Sands effortlessly brings the 1600s to life for his readers with deft historic touches. The books are incredibly funny too – I especially appreciate the banter between Christopher and Tom as Christopher unveils his latest – and most likely dangerous - plan. Give yourself plenty of time when you embark on these books, because you will not be able to put them down until you’ve turned the final page.