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Mark of the Plague

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Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown apothecary arrives with a cure that actually works. Christopher’s Blackthorn shop is chosen to prepare the remedy. But when an assassin threatens the apothecary’s life, Christopher and his faithful friend Tom are back to hunting down the truth, risking their lives to untangle the heart of a dark conspiracy. And as the sickness strikes close to home, the stakes are higher than ever before…


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Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown apothecary arrives with a cure that actually works. Christopher’s Blackthorn shop is chosen to prepare the remedy. But when an assassin threatens the apothecary’s life, Christopher and his faithful friend Tom are back to hunting down the truth, risking their lives to untangle the heart of a dark conspiracy. And as the sickness strikes close to home, the stakes are higher than ever before…

30 review for Mark of the Plague

  1. 5 out of 5

    joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)

    Sept 6, 2016: The day I get to experience pigeon feels all over again. FLY INTO MY HEART, BRIDGET. Sept 19, 2016: The day I realize I have to wait another year+ for more Bridget. Coo coo. I am heartbroken. -- full review pending.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC! I LOVED The Blackthorn Key last year, and I still maintain that it is a million times better than Percy Jackson. Kevin Sands knows how to write a dark, twisted tale that still has a sense of wonderment and surprise, and Mark of the Plague definitely continues that trend. There is so much action in this sequel, and I admit I got a little emotionally when the book frequently picked on Tom (he's my favourite). There's a larger mystery surroundin Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC! I LOVED The Blackthorn Key last year, and I still maintain that it is a million times better than Percy Jackson. Kevin Sands knows how to write a dark, twisted tale that still has a sense of wonderment and surprise, and Mark of the Plague definitely continues that trend. There is so much action in this sequel, and I admit I got a little emotionally when the book frequently picked on Tom (he's my favourite). There's a larger mystery surrounding Christopher's old master, Benedict, and with people becoming ill with a plague, it makes for a very emotionally charged adventure. What makes this a terrific follow up is that it borrows all the elements of what made the first book so great -- putting the clues together to form the larger picture and uncover the larger mystery at hand. There was a lot of great twist and turns in the sequel that I thought were so perfectly timed, and it made for a fun and engaging read. Plus the plague in this novel was so darn creepy, and I get that it's based on a medevael plague, but geez, it's nerve-wracking. There's this huge sense of dread in the story about contracting this plague and Sands really puts the read through the wringer at times with what happens with some of these characters and this surrounding plague. No spoilers or anything, but I was pretty worried through a lot of this book in terms of a certain character's fate. This book is also much heftier in size compared to its predecessor, but it's five hundread pages that read lightning fast. Frankly, I am thrilled that The Blackthorn Key has become a series. I think Kevin Sands just pours so much creativity into this series, and I love the way he gets his readers thinking about how to crack codes and read inbetween the lines. I also adore Christopher and Tom, and I thought Sally was a delight as well. There's good, solid characterization here, and the adventure really makes it quite the thrill ride.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    How awesome (and ransom) is it that the third book in this trilogy is being released tomorrow? Master apothecary Benedict Blackthorn died in the first book, leaving his home and business to his apprentice, orphan Christopher Rowe, who is stymied because he is not licensed. It's London, 1665, and a plaque descends. More than a thousand people are dying every day, when a plaque doctor begins to build popular support against the ruling magistrates and a miraculous cure is developed. Chris smells a r How awesome (and ransom) is it that the third book in this trilogy is being released tomorrow? Master apothecary Benedict Blackthorn died in the first book, leaving his home and business to his apprentice, orphan Christopher Rowe, who is stymied because he is not licensed. It's London, 1665, and a plaque descends. More than a thousand people are dying every day, when a plaque doctor begins to build popular support against the ruling magistrates and a miraculous cure is developed. Chris smells a rat, and with this two trusty friends (Tom the baker's son) and Sally, another orphan, tries to gather the proof needed to thwart his plans. I liked this one better than the first installment, which I thought suffered from unexplained leaps of faith to solve puzzles. Here, author Kevin Sands provides fewer puzzles and the solutions are more believable. Nice ending.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amber J

    This book was just as good if not better than the first in my opinion. Our main character Christopher is in the middle of a plague. The story centers around him, his best friend Tom, and the orphan girl they take in, Sally. There is a prophet who is predicting the next plague victim and Galen an apothecary who seems to have discovered the cure and can prove it. But someone is trying to murder Galen, the prophet seems off to Christopher, and worse of all, the prophet predicts that someone Christo This book was just as good if not better than the first in my opinion. Our main character Christopher is in the middle of a plague. The story centers around him, his best friend Tom, and the orphan girl they take in, Sally. There is a prophet who is predicting the next plague victim and Galen an apothecary who seems to have discovered the cure and can prove it. But someone is trying to murder Galen, the prophet seems off to Christopher, and worse of all, the prophet predicts that someone Christopher loves is next. To top it off his former master had left behind a treasure for him to find, after figuring out the clues of course. The book was full of adventure and mystery. More puzzles and codes. Christopher is obviously a really smart kid to figure out everything that he does. Sally is such a happy spirit to be around she lightens the mood and that great. However my favorite character in both books is Tom. He is suppose to be the big giant looking kind of a guy, but who is a 'mouse'. Hes loyal to a fault and very funny in an accidental kind of way. (view spoiler)[ I would like to quote my favorite moment in this book. Tom had been poisoned and as they say in the book it had addled his brain. They were on the run from some guards who were literally throwing weapons at them. "Christopher," Tom said. "Can I please rest for a minute?" "They're throwing axes at us, Tom," I said. "I'll rest later, then." "Good idea," I muttered. This was to funny, picture the trio running through the back alleys of london while guards are chasing them and throwing axes at them and poor, sick, addled brained Tom wanting nothing more then to take a nap, oblivious to the danger around him. Anyways a part of me knew going into this book that someone they trusted would betray them. That Christopher would have to use his brain to get out of it, and still in the end there would be help from those who cared about him. The ending made me cry, but in a good way. I'm looking forward to book 3 of this series. (hide spoiler)]

  5. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    This is the second of the Blackthorn Key series. You can start with this book without being too lost, though I don’t know why you’d want to. It’s London 1665ish. The Plague is up and running; people are social distancing and using face coverings with little success. All kinds of charlatans are selling fake cures. One dude in a plague doctor mask predicts who will get the plague next, and the predictions are coming true. I thought he was fishy from the start. An apothecarist also shows up, claimin This is the second of the Blackthorn Key series. You can start with this book without being too lost, though I don’t know why you’d want to. It’s London 1665ish. The Plague is up and running; people are social distancing and using face coverings with little success. All kinds of charlatans are selling fake cures. One dude in a plague doctor mask predicts who will get the plague next, and the predictions are coming true. I thought he was fishy from the start. An apothecarist also shows up, claiming to have a cure that he will give away for free, and victims do seem to be recovering with his cure. Naturally Christopher and Tom get involved. There is a big mystery and conspiracy and some puzzles and codes. It kept me guessing until the end. Highly entertaining overall. There are a few explosions because that’s what Christopher is good at. Excellent audio narration by Ray Panthaki. Language: None Sexual Content: None Violence: Stabbing, punching/kicking Harm to Animals: (view spoiler)[A bird is nearly killed by mean people but pulls through. (hide spoiler)] Harm to Children: (view spoiler)[Some children get sick and injured; one dies. (hide spoiler)] Other (Triggers): (view spoiler)[Christopher also gets falsely accused of several things, which really rankles me. I don’t know if “triggered” is the right word, but it really aggravates my inner sense of justice, I guess. (hide spoiler)]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    The year is 1665, and the Black Death has London in its deadly and terrifying grip, claiming its defenceless victims in ever increasing numbers. Understandable then, that people are drawn to both a masked stranger who seems to be able to prophesy who will die next, and a mysterious apothecary who claims to have a cure. Meanwhile, Apothecary’s assistant Christopher Rowe and his friend Tom, are struggling to survive after the demise of Christopher’s mentor Master Blackthorne. They find themselves bat The year is 1665, and the Black Death has London in its deadly and terrifying grip, claiming its defenceless victims in ever increasing numbers. Understandable then, that people are drawn to both a masked stranger who seems to be able to prophesy who will die next, and a mysterious apothecary who claims to have a cure. Meanwhile, Apothecary’s assistant Christopher Rowe and his friend Tom, are struggling to survive after the demise of Christopher’s mentor Master Blackthorne. They find themselves battling the privations of living in a city besieged by plague, when things take a more sinister turn after Christopher’s shop is broken into, and they becomes involved in a deadly conspiracy. These are desperate times for the boys, but they, and their friend Sally use ever bit of their ingenuity, skill and tenacity to solve a riddle, decipher a secret code, make sense of a mystery, and try to save the day.....great stuff for anyone who loves wonderful characters and an exciting plot.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    This was a fun story and a quick read. There was an interesting mystery and a lot of action. The puzzles are still my favourite thing about this series. I still like Christopher and Tom. Although, I do prefer Tom. I think he's amusing. I also like Sally. She's as interesting as the boys. The setting was creepy. London during the Great Plague is frightning. Although, any plague in any city at any time would be scary. This was a fun story and a quick read. There was an interesting mystery and a lot of action. The puzzles are still my favourite thing about this series. I still like Christopher and Tom. Although, I do prefer Tom. I think he's amusing. I also like Sally. She's as interesting as the boys. The setting was creepy. London during the Great Plague is frightning. Although, any plague in any city at any time would be scary.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline After the death of his master, Benedict Blackthorne in The Blackthorn Key, Christopher Rowe is trying to keep alive in London during the plague. His friend Tom has access to food, since his family runs a bakery, but there's very little business to bring in money. When someone breaks into the shop, Christopher is thrown into a realm of intrigue involving the plague and several secret societies. He starts by looking for a treasure that has supposedly been lef E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline After the death of his master, Benedict Blackthorne in The Blackthorn Key, Christopher Rowe is trying to keep alive in London during the plague. His friend Tom has access to food, since his family runs a bakery, but there's very little business to bring in money. When someone breaks into the shop, Christopher is thrown into a realm of intrigue involving the plague and several secret societies. He starts by looking for a treasure that has supposedly been left to him, but soon is embroiled in finding out information about Melchior, a plague doctor who is going about London dressed in a smoking bird mask prophesying deaths with accuracy. There is another doctor, Galen, who claims to have a cure for the plague but doesn't want money for it. Many quacks are around, but they all want money. When Galen's cure works on a magistrates daughter, he is given Christopher's workshop to use and funded by the plague charity to produce more of his cure. There's something fishy about this, and Christopher, along with Tom and new addition, Cripplegate alumna Sally, are bound and determined to find out why. Strengths: This is not a fantasy, even though the cover and length (540+ pages) would lead one to believe this. Solid historical novel that addresses lots of information about the plague and the political machinations during London in the 1660s. Compelling read all the way through. Weaknesses: Sometimes the tone of the character's speech seemed too modern, but I'd rather have that than fake, stilted language. What I really think: My library doesn't have much of an audience for this, and The Blackthorn key hasn't circulated well even though it was the 2015 Cybils middle grade fiction winner.

  9. 5 out of 5

    AJ

    Sequels can often be flat in plot and motion compared to the initial book. This one, however, is equally as engaging and fast paced as the first Blackthorn Key book. After his first intensely dangerous adventure filled with code breaking and mysteries to unravel, Christopher's new adventure involves plague remedies, more codes to decipher, and a host of confusing questions to answer. Really enjoy the author's writing that keeps you turning page after page. Sequels can often be flat in plot and motion compared to the initial book. This one, however, is equally as engaging and fast paced as the first Blackthorn Key book. After his first intensely dangerous adventure filled with code breaking and mysteries to unravel, Christopher's new adventure involves plague remedies, more codes to decipher, and a host of confusing questions to answer. Really enjoy the author's writing that keeps you turning page after page.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shelli

    This was fun. I listened to the audio in between a bunch of other books and audios. These reads are like old friends. Always nice to come back to. I will definitely try the next in the series. There were a few sections that seemed a little long in this one and it took a bit longer than necessary to reveal the true mystery. Overall though, good characters and enjoyable. 3.5 stars

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    4.5 really! Fantastic finish! Loved it! Can't wait to read #3. 4.5 really! Fantastic finish! Loved it! Can't wait to read #3.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    A great sequel to Blackthorn Key!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Even more 16th century adventure, action and mystery awaits in the second volume of the The Blackthorn Key series! The stakes are amped up and so is the action in this sequel, which manages the rare trick of being even more enjoyable than its predecessor. The plot involves a lot of twists and turns that will keep readers on their toes, plus information about making real-life codes that will appeal to anyone's inner "secret spy". The introduction of a female character, Sally, is a nice expansion o Even more 16th century adventure, action and mystery awaits in the second volume of the The Blackthorn Key series! The stakes are amped up and so is the action in this sequel, which manages the rare trick of being even more enjoyable than its predecessor. The plot involves a lot of twists and turns that will keep readers on their toes, plus information about making real-life codes that will appeal to anyone's inner "secret spy". The introduction of a female character, Sally, is a nice expansion of the cast, although she's definitely in a secondary role compared to the two main male characters, Christopher and Tom. Historical details are woven in so smoothly that readers will pick up a good sense of life in 16th century London without even noticing that they're learning facts along with enjoying a thrilling story! Note: this review is based on a free ARC provided at ALA by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Wow. I really enjoyed this. The main characters of the book are interesting and likeable, as well as just plain cool. I love the way Christopher has so much knowledge of almost any plant he encounters, the faithful loyalty of Tom, even though "this is a bad idea," and the general cheerfulness and resilience of Sally, despite all she's been through. The plot had lots of twists and turns that made me not want to put it down. I love that I can guess and make predictions and follow the plot, but I'm Wow. I really enjoyed this. The main characters of the book are interesting and likeable, as well as just plain cool. I love the way Christopher has so much knowledge of almost any plant he encounters, the faithful loyalty of Tom, even though "this is a bad idea," and the general cheerfulness and resilience of Sally, despite all she's been through. The plot had lots of twists and turns that made me not want to put it down. I love that I can guess and make predictions and follow the plot, but I'm still surprised at several of the twists the story takes. I also liked how the interaction between the characters is often very lighthearted and funny. It helps lighten up the book a bit, because it can be a bit dark. In all, this is an engaging and exciting book with lots of action and mystery, as well as likable and funny characters.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    "This is a terrible idea," Tom said. "I didn't even say anything," said Christopher. Every time I read that I get excited to see what scheme Christopher has worked up! The sequel to The Blackthorn Key did not fall sort at all. You fall more in love with the friendship between Christopher and Tom. The plot line was a little bit predictable with who was the villain, but I did get fouled like Christopher and did not excepted the true mastermind. I highly recommend these books to anyone the characters a "This is a terrible idea," Tom said. "I didn't even say anything," said Christopher. Every time I read that I get excited to see what scheme Christopher has worked up! The sequel to The Blackthorn Key did not fall sort at all. You fall more in love with the friendship between Christopher and Tom. The plot line was a little bit predictable with who was the villain, but I did get fouled like Christopher and did not excepted the true mastermind. I highly recommend these books to anyone the characters are so life like, the plot draws you in and the codes nag at you until solved. Seeing the pieces finally fit in to place in Christopher's mind is a thrill to read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I had major issues with this book. While reading I kept looking for a slow place to stop. Just when I thought I found a good spot the chapter ended on a cliffhanger and I had to continue on to see how that situation was resolved. This cycle repeated itself throughout the story. Because of this I have to say that I complete enjoyed this book! It was exciting, villains were villainous, friends were true, the most unlikely people were heroes and the descriptions of the time and events and apothecar I had major issues with this book. While reading I kept looking for a slow place to stop. Just when I thought I found a good spot the chapter ended on a cliffhanger and I had to continue on to see how that situation was resolved. This cycle repeated itself throughout the story. Because of this I have to say that I complete enjoyed this book! It was exciting, villains were villainous, friends were true, the most unlikely people were heroes and the descriptions of the time and events and apothecary concoctions reinforced a wonderful sense of place. Recommend! And now I'm off to find the next book in this series...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Yas

    I need a moment what. just. happened. RTC

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. WARNING: review for both The Blackthorn Key AND Mark of the Plague. You know how every once in a while you come across a book that makes you grateful that you have learned to read? This is the experience I had with The Blackthorn Key, and double that with its sequel – Mark of the Plague. The Blackthorn Key Adventure (I’m not sure whether this is the official title of the series, but I saw it mentioned on the cover of Mark of the Plague) are, in a word, extremely refreshing books. The author has ma WARNING: review for both The Blackthorn Key AND Mark of the Plague. You know how every once in a while you come across a book that makes you grateful that you have learned to read? This is the experience I had with The Blackthorn Key, and double that with its sequel – Mark of the Plague. The Blackthorn Key Adventure (I’m not sure whether this is the official title of the series, but I saw it mentioned on the cover of Mark of the Plague) are, in a word, extremely refreshing books. The author has managed to take such a well-known and probably overused time period and and turn it absolutely fascinating – all the while assisted by the fact that he has obviously done his research. But more than that, the characters don’t feel forced into the time period, which in itself doesn’t feel to be just used for aesthetic; all of the ideas are skillfully put together in harmony like pieces of a puzzle. Segue into my next point – the puzzles! I have read a number of puzzle based books which emphasized the concept so much that I would honestly just get tired and confused. The Blackthorn Key once again manages to merge the idea of puzzles and puzzle solving so well into the world that you barely even notice (and more importantly, you don’t feel left out of the characters’ conversation when it comes to the solutions). None of the characters’ interactions with said puzzles seems unnatural or forced – for example the contrast between the way Christopher and his friend Tom view the puzzles emphasizes on their different personality aspects and worldview in a way that just compliments the rest of the narrative. The prose is absolutely wonderful: it doesn’t take itself too seriously or try to be dark just for the sake of being Edgy; the humor that’s peppered carefully throughout the narrative is tasteful and incredibly entertaining (and laugh-out-loud!), but most of all Kevin Sands also knows when to be serious. The dialogue is extremely engaging without trying too hard, the expositions are solid, the pacing is steady, the narration is stable and smooth, and makes the characterization very clear. You are never left wondering about anyone’s intentions unless the author wanted you to – and in those cases, it is absolutely clear that any mystery surrounding anything or anyone was intentional, and leaves you wanting for more rather than, once again, feeling as if you’ve been left out of the loop and are simply eavesdropping at the door. Another extremely positive point that I must simply mention is that the appearance of a female character in Mark of the Plague did in no way introduce romance into the series right away. I have great respect for the author for not taking that step quite yet (in a way, I’m hoping that Sally remains outside of romance even if Chris and Tom don’t). Which brings me to my next point! The characters! Oh God, the characters! It has been a while since I have been so enamored with characters! They’re fresh, interesting, sympathetic and different. You can almost immediately tell who says what in dialogues even if the speaker isn’t indicated clearly, which means they are extremely solid. The relationships each of them have with other people and with themselves is so well-explored and clear that you definitely can’t help but love even the villains. Not to mention that none of them are really that big a stereotypes as you might expect, the biggest surprise for me being Lord Ashcombe, whom, quite frankly, I was expecting to find strict beyond reason and righteous to a fault. The emotional aspects of the everyone’s struggles are also handled wonderfully and show very well the meaning of cause-and-consequence. This makes none of the characters’ actions feel illogical (even emotionally so) or misplaced at any point. Quite frankly, I have not found a single sentence, word or comment that was misplaced in the entirety of both books. Also, judging by a couple of brief e-mails I exchanged with him, Kevin Sands himself seems to be a rather cool guy. Bonus points! // https://firebirdreviews.wordpress.com/

  19. 4 out of 5

    TheEJHeider

    This book picked up from the final event of the first book. I was so glad to be back in this very cryptic world. It started slow but I figured that the author maybe tried to experiment on how he should continue the story because it was like 200 pages of "aftermath". It was slow but I didn't mind because the author was clearly trying to solidify the foundations of the book that quite worked well and I wanna know what actually happened to all the great characters in this book. It slowly transition This book picked up from the final event of the first book. I was so glad to be back in this very cryptic world. It started slow but I figured that the author maybe tried to experiment on how he should continue the story because it was like 200 pages of "aftermath". It was slow but I didn't mind because the author was clearly trying to solidify the foundations of the book that quite worked well and I wanna know what actually happened to all the great characters in this book. It slowly transitioned into the current state of 1665 London where a deadly plague was infecting people and everyone was on panic with no cure, no actual way of determining how the plague was spreading and everyone was duping everyone with their pseudo cures and prevention medicines that may or may not work. Sounds oddly familiar right? lol This plague killed thousands of people every single day and then suddenly a mysterious cure was discovered and now everyone wants to have a piece of it. This was a chaotic book, in a great way. The familiar cryptic vibes of the first book was perfectly maintained in this story until it ended on a very unexpected climax that was extremely satisfying. I'm still in love with Christopher & Tom's friendship dynamics. They're very fun to follow and you can't help but root for them. They're smart yet still flawed and I appreciate that kind of balance to characters. I honestly don't want to say more about this because I feel like I might spoil it. The less you know about this book, the better the surprises are. Overall, I enjoyed it so much and it definitely delivered a satisfactory conclusion just like the first book. 5/5 Stars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    sumayyah

    Rating - 5 Stars // Recommended - 11+ ____________________________________ It is evidently clear that there was a LOT of thought put into this series. Since I am in the habit of writing short reviews lately, here are my last words; I will now begin the next book. ____________________________________ Character ratings (because this review is to short) Christopher - 5 Tom - 5 Sally - 5 Dr. Parrett - 5 Lord Ashcombe - 5 Aaaand that's it. Maybe I should rename this to 'my favorite character ratings'. Rating - 5 Stars // Recommended - 11+ ____________________________________ It is evidently clear that there was a LOT of thought put into this series. Since I am in the habit of writing short reviews lately, here are my last words; I will now begin the next book. ____________________________________ Character ratings (because this review is to short) Christopher - 5 Tom - 5 Sally - 5 Dr. Parrett - 5 Lord Ashcombe - 5 Aaaand that's it. Maybe I should rename this to 'my favorite character ratings'.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    This second book opens with 30,551 dead from the black plague during London's 1665 epidemic. In this volume, an evil group of men conspire to rob the city's treasury through vile means. Young Christopher, with the help of friends Tom and Sally discover the conspiracy and work to bring the truth to light. It was an eerily appropriate book to read while sheltering in place during the Covid-19 panic. Suffice it to say that both books are well written with interesting plots and characters, so that I This second book opens with 30,551 dead from the black plague during London's 1665 epidemic. In this volume, an evil group of men conspire to rob the city's treasury through vile means. Young Christopher, with the help of friends Tom and Sally discover the conspiracy and work to bring the truth to light. It was an eerily appropriate book to read while sheltering in place during the Covid-19 panic. Suffice it to say that both books are well written with interesting plots and characters, so that I will want to continue reading the rest of the series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amita

    4.5 stars. Surprisingly, I liked this more than the first one even though the first one was already super good. I really appreciate the emotionally charged moments in this series because they're done so well, like at the end when (view spoiler)[Christopher found the letter from Master Benedict that he started off as Christopher Rowe but was now Christopher Blackthorn (hide spoiler)] that was so cute... maybe I cried a little 🥺👉👈 Also I love Sally and her relentless optimism :) p.s. Reading a book a 4.5 stars. Surprisingly, I liked this more than the first one even though the first one was already super good. I really appreciate the emotionally charged moments in this series because they're done so well, like at the end when (view spoiler)[Christopher found the letter from Master Benedict that he started off as Christopher Rowe but was now Christopher Blackthorn (hide spoiler)] that was so cute... maybe I cried a little 🥺👉👈 Also I love Sally and her relentless optimism :) p.s. Reading a book about the plague during a global pandemic is way too real, you know?

  23. 4 out of 5

    nicky

    “Now you understand. You are born Christopher Rowe. But you became Christopher Balckthorn. I am with you always. - Benedict” let me just go and cry because every time I read this book I forget about this line. I mean he saw him as a son and he was him as a father and I just... I CANT! I love this whole entire series with my heart yet I can never say which book is my fav. I love the assassins curse tho it’s so addicting an easy days read. if you think that christopher’s friendship with tom was the “Now you understand. You are born Christopher Rowe. But you became Christopher Balckthorn. I am with you always. - Benedict” let me just go and cry because every time I read this book I forget about this line. I mean he saw him as a son and he was him as a father and I just... I CANT! I love this whole entire series with my heart yet I can never say which book is my fav. I love the assassins curse tho it’s so addicting an easy days read. if you think that christopher’s friendship with tom was the smth well sally just makes it a lot more better. tho i’ve read this entire series MANY times over, I’m always shocked at how it ends

  24. 4 out of 5

    Terri Lynn

    I loved the first book in this series and this second book is equally pleasing. Young Christopher is still mourning the death of his apothecary master who left him his shop and home. The Apothecary guild was to set him up with a new master and money until he comes of age but they have fled along with many others due to the plague arriving in London. As a mere apprentice, Christopher is not allowed to sell even things he knows how to make. Suddenly there appears in town a man in a bird suit and ma I loved the first book in this series and this second book is equally pleasing. Young Christopher is still mourning the death of his apothecary master who left him his shop and home. The Apothecary guild was to set him up with a new master and money until he comes of age but they have fled along with many others due to the plague arriving in London. As a mere apprentice, Christopher is not allowed to sell even things he knows how to make. Suddenly there appears in town a man in a bird suit and mask named Melchior who seems to be able to determine who will get sick and a traveling doctor named Galen who claims to be able to cure the plague. Christopher, his close friend Tom (the baker's son) and a girl named Sally from the orphanage Christopher was saved from must save the city from these men- but can they even save themselves. Medieval fiction at its very best.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dina Rodrigues

    I enjoyed this 2nd book as I did with the 1st!! I loved the mystery of Christopher’s code-breaking,his crazy Smoke in Your home experiment,how Master Benedict chose Christopher as his apprentice (especially the last part-it made me tear up) & lastly Tom’s funny comeback quips!I must say that Kevin Sands’ Blackthorn series is far better than than the Percy Jackson’s series..(sorry,fans of Percy) but this is my review & I can’t wait to start the 3rd book..

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Zarate

    Kevin Sands does it again! Another awesome trial for Christopher, Tom, several other players from The Blackthorn Key, and a new cast of villains. This time the plague is in full force and lives are on the line. The combination of mystery, action, and comedic banter makes for another great read in this series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carina Adams

    I think this follow up to Christopher Rowe's Story was even better than the first. The perfect book to read with my sons! I love that it keeps us guessing until the end and brings hours of healthy discussions about scenarios and characters into our lives. I think this follow up to Christopher Rowe's Story was even better than the first. The perfect book to read with my sons! I love that it keeps us guessing until the end and brings hours of healthy discussions about scenarios and characters into our lives.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Clark

    I liked the first one more, but this one really did pick up at the end. Loved the journal entries from Master Benedict. Tom remains great, and Lucy was a good addition to the crew.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Renmarie56

    This book may start out slower than the first, but it has an excellent payoff. I'm definitely going to continue reading this series. This book may start out slower than the first, but it has an excellent payoff. I'm definitely going to continue reading this series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    ThomyZ

    A great sequel to the first one.

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