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The Silver Blade
by Sally Gardner

Release Date: 23rd Apr 2009
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978 1 8425 5597 2
RRP: £9.99

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Terrific sequel to The Red Necklace...

Following on from The Red Necklace, Gardner re-conjures the players in this epic tale of good versus evil, love versus lust. Whilst Sido has been secreted away to England for safety, Yann and his guardian, the dwarf, Têtu, have remained in Paris to attempt to staunch the flow of innocent blood from the Guillotine. Through the theatre, they have managed to create a credible front for their organisation – and a well-placed entrance to the catacombs below the streets of Paris prove to be the perfect manner in which to smuggle out the rescued. Meanwhile, there is strange talk of a rogue nicknamed ‘The Silver Blade’ who is seemingly responsible for freeing the incarcerated from under the noses of the Revolutions’ authorities...

The lone cry of a wolf, barely seen but audible sets shivers down the spine – there are also tales of a nightwalker who stalks the streets, oozing the very essence of death. Is it possible that the Count, who was supposedly killed by the mob, is not really dead at all? What is it that Têtu refuses to tell Yann about his past? Will Sido and Yann ever manage to be reunited – and will circumstance allow them to be together?

The Silver Blade is both stunning in terms of imagery, but also in the depth and intelligence of emotion; for it is an epic love story that transcends all barriers. Gardner has created a wonderfully mystic magic in the form of light threads and their counterparts – dark threads – through which objects can be manipulated; but it is in the creation of life-like manikins that are able to speak and move (called ‘automata’) that her sheer brilliance is illustrated. This dark, foreboding sense of power is wonderfully creepy and tantalisingly real. Whilst the loved-up sections may get a little gushing, it is inarguably the terrific pace of action and the overall play of good versus evil that makes this series hugely enjoyable. The fact that you learn by osmosis a few facts about the disturbing period of French history that was the Revolution and the reign of Terror is a valuable bonus that children may not appreciate, but their parents will.

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