Monday, April 28, 2008

The Red Necklace-Sally Gardner

The Red Necklace
Sally Gardner
Dial, May 2008, $16.99
ISBN: 9780739356487

In 1789 Paris, Tetu the dwarf has raised fourteen years old full blooded Roma orphan Yann as they both assist egomaniac magician Topolain. His arrogance leads to his death at the hands of evil Count Kalliovski who wants the automaton the mage used while performing. At about the same time, Yann meets reticent affluent aristocrat Sidonie; a lonely young girl who has no friends and never tasted love even from family members. Her cold distant father loathes her so much he has sold her to the vicious Count as his wife.

The murder of Topolain leads Tetu to smuggle his ward out of France to the safety of London. However, when the Revolution begins to take over the French capital, Yann returns hoping to take the two people he cares about, Tetu and Sidonie, to London; knowing her father and her fiancé will attempt to kill him for trying.

A Tale of Two Cities with an Oliver Twist spin, a serial killer leaving garnet necklaces on the victims, and an intimation of Gypsy magic make for an entertaining young adult suspense historical fantasy. The contrast between Paris and London is startling, but both cities have blood flowing in the streets; only the former is more in the open. Yann and Sidonie is a wonderful courageous couple while Tetu is heroic in his loyalty to his ward. Whereas the villains are a bit exaggerated, fans will appreciate this strong French Revolution thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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