Review Blog

May 04 2016

Theophilus Grey and the traitor's mask by Catherine Jinks

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Theophilius Grey series. Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760113612
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. London, Eighteenth Century, George 11, Espionage. We first met Theophilus Grey in Theophilus Grey and the demon thief, a book set in eighteenth century London at the time of King George the Second. Philo worked as a linkboy and along with a group of other homeless orphans, used their skills to gather information for their master, the Fagan like Garnet Hooke. In this companion novel, Philo and his crew are paid by the government to gather intelligence about the Jacobites. Nathaniel Paxton his old friend also involved in the spying business introduces him to Caroline Cowley, an actress who takes him under her wing to teach him the art of disguise and how to play someone convincingly, in order to gain access to the ringleaders of the Jacobites in London.
Some of the subplots are finely detailed, giving the reader an in depth look at what London was like for people of the lower orders in the reign of George the Second. Jinks' research gives insight especially into the plight of children who had to fend for themselves in these times.
Into Philo's range comes his old and now ill mentor, Garnet Hooke, who wants to wreak revenge on Philo for leaving him. But he must also deal with the rival gang of linkboys whose loyalties lie elsewhere.
As with Theophilus Grey and the demon thief, the pace of the story is fast with many subplots taking the reader along with them as Philo must work out just who he can trust as his work takes him perilously close to those accused of treason.
Fran Knight

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