The Blackthorn Key and Mark of the Plague

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)The Blackthorn Key
by Kevin Sands
Grades 4 & up

Christopher Rowe was fortunate not only to be chosen as an apothecary’s apprentice from the orphanage, but also to end up with a kind and clever master like Benedict Blackthorn. Being an apothecary in London in 1655 is part science, part medicine, and part detective work. Christopher loves all aspects of it until a series of murders that appear to be targeting apothecaries in the area. When Master Blackthorn leaves him a note full of clues in code, Christopher and his best friend Tom must solve them before it is too late. A fabulous historical mystery with equal parts humor and adventure, this one will draw you in from the first page. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

Mark of the Plague (The Blackthorn Key, #2)Mark of the Plague
by Kevin Sands
Grades 4 & up

In this action-packed sequel to The Blackthorn Key, The Plague has returned to London. Christopher and Tom are doing their best to survive, although Christopher has no way to support himself since he is an apprentice with no master. Most of the other apothecaries and the upper class have deserted London. Cripplegate, Christopher’s former orphanage, has shut its doors, and Christopher ends up taking in Sally, a girl he had known there, after she is beat up during a riot. When a strange new plague doctor comes to town and begins to make prophecies as well, Christopher and Tom become suspicious of him. Their attention soon turns to an apothecary who claims to have a cure for The Plague. When they see it work, they advocate for mass production and distribution. They are surprised when he chooses Tom to help him instead of Christopher. They become more and more suspicious until they are embroiled in a mystery so deep there is no other way out. Plus there is the constant, underlying fear of contracting The Plague. A fantastic historical adventure. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up. Read The Blackthorn Key first.

eARC provided by Edelweiss

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