mardi 5 mai 2009

A long awaited sequel

Over the long weekend, I finally got the chance to sit and read Silver Blade, the long awaited sequel to the Red Necklace by Sally Gardner. I’d been so looking forward to it, as I was anxious to know how Yann and Sido’s story would play out. I’m happy to report that it’s every bit as good as Red Necklace!

At the beginning of the book, Yann and Sido are apart from each other. This is a time of great peril as the old aristocratic class makes way for the revolutionaries of 1789. Unfortunately the new regime fails to improve the people’s lot and to keep all dissent at bay the guillotine is used to great effect. Yann, who has been blessed with great powers, has decided to stay in Paris to help the people fleeing from Paris while Sido is away in London awaiting the time when they may be safely reunited. Unknown to them, there is danger coming closer every minute from an old and powerful foe as well as those bent on doing away with all dissenters to the new republic.
I can’t tell you enough how exciting the novel was. This is a fine piece historical fiction that is also a great adventure novel and a love story. And while it was written ostensibly for children, this is clearly a book to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The author captures vividly the darkness and cruelty that pervaded this period of French history through her prose that gleams at times with poetic brilliance. It takes talent to make this particular period of history come alive in fiction form but she’s done a really great job. The only thing I would warn readers about this book is that it may not be for the squeamish or faint hearted as there are a number of gruesome details. But that’s a minor warning.

Her generous gifts of prose likewise enables her to create characters that come alive from the pages of the book. We’ve seen that in Yann and Sido, the principal characters we root for in the Red Necklace. This time around she’s taken pains with her secondary characters like Tetu the dwarf, Monsieur Aulard and Didier so you become attached to them too. You can’t help but be drawn into their story and to remain gripped by their fate till the last page.

This is a gripping read that shouldn’t be missed. Now I can’t wait for her reading at RWB in June!

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