Review Blog

Oct 04 2013

Allies & Assassins by Justin Somper

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Atom, 2013. ISBN 9780349001906.
(Age: 11-14) Justin Somper can always be relied upon to create something with a unique feel about it, for example his hugely entertaining Vampirates books. Allies & Assassins follows in this vein. It is sort of a cross between Fantasy and CSI. Prince Jared is second in line to the throne of Archenfield and never expects to be ruler until his brother Prince Anders is found dead in his bed. The assassin is thought to be from a neighbouring kingdom and the suspect is quickly caught and beheaded. However Asta, the physician's niece and apprentice has some reservations and persuades Prince Jared that there is some doubt and together they set out to get at the truth. The fast paced story looks at a day by day account of the next week, as the death toll mounts and various suspects examined, until at last the truth is revealed. Short chapters and the day by day format keep interest high and the characters are filled out enough to make them interesting with the hint of a romance between Asta and Prince Jared.
I am sure that upper primary/middle school readers would enjoy the beguiling mixture of this story and look forward to the next book in the series.
David Rayner

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