The Assasin’s Curse by Kevin Sands
The Blackthorn Key #3
Publication date September 5, 2017
Summary from Goodreads:
Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this third novel of the award-winning Blackthorn Key series.
Wherever Christopher Rowe goes, adventure—and murder—follows. Even a chance to meet King Charles ends in a brush with an assassin.
All that’s recovered from the killer is a coded message with an ominous sign-off: more attempts are coming. So when Christopher’s code-breaking discovers the attack’s true target, he and his friends are ordered to Paris to investigate a centuries-old curse on the French throne. And when they learn an ancient treasure is promised to any assassin who succeeds, they realize the entire royal family is at stake—as well as their own lives.
In the third heart-pounding installment of the award-winning Blackthorn Key series, Christopher, Tom, and Sally face new codes, puzzles, and traps as they race to find the hidden treasure before someone else is murdered.
Arc provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review.
This third installment in this series is just as exciting and interesting as the first two. There were plenty of codes, riddles and secret messages to keep things interesting and lots of action and even some heart stopping moments when it looked liked Christopher or one of his friends are about to die. There was more court intrigue is this one, but with the French court instead of England’s. There is some willing suspension of disbelief with this story, in that it is hard to imagine three thirteen year olds doing all that these characters do in a time period of history where commoners were very down trodden and forgotten. But still a really great read.
I still enjoy spending time with Christopher, he is such a smart and curious young man who takes a lot in stride but is loyal to his friends and will do anything to protect them, even giving up his own life for theirs. It was interesting to watch his and Tom’s relationship weaken but then come out the other side stronger than ever. I also like the addition of Sally in the stories. She was in the first two books, but has a bigger roll in this story. She is a strong young lady who is also willing to put a lot at stake to help Christopher.
The change in the setting was nice as well. France during this time period was so interesting. Also the Knights Templar history was very interesting as well. This story takes place over a longer period of time than the first two, although there certainly was no lag in the narrative. It was fast-paced and exciting which made it hard to put down. There were a few instances where things got a little too unbelievable, but certainly did not interfere with my overall enjoyment of the book.
I listened to the first two books in the series, and even though I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobooks, it was nice to read this one. It made it easier to work out the ciphers and codes that Christopher encountered when I could actually see them, not just hear a string of letters or a description of the letters. It is easier when reading a story that has codes and other riddles and ciphers to actually see them.
Another great installment in this thrilling series. I have trouble convincing students to read historical fiction, but this is one that I am sure they will devour just like I did.