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by Avi

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-545-08090-3
Publisher: Scholastic

Avi returns to Renaissance Pergamontio for another round of murder and political intrigue, set two years before the events of Midnight Magic (1999). Taking with a grain of salt the claims of his new master, stage magician Mangus, that there is no such thing as magic, ten-year-old ex–street orphan Fabrizio finds himself swept up in a murderous royal power struggle that results in them both being framed, thrown into prison and threatened with execution. On the way to an elaborate climactic trick set in a candle-lit, bone-strewn crypt, Fabrizio meets contending aristocrats with murky motives, a young “devil” (a printer’s devil, as it turns out), a genial executioner and other colorful characters. The plot never takes a break, rushing from encounter to encounter in true audience-pleasing style; the intrigue unfolds naturally without bogging down the main event. The denouement is as contrived as can be, but readers will be glued to this suspenseful, headlong caper from first page to last. (Adventure. 10-12)