The strapline on the cover of this book is, ‘Who can you trust when wickedness returns?’ Who indeed?
A follow-on to the exciting historical thriller for teenagers, ‘Wickedness’ which came out in 2011, ‘Deceit’ sees the return of the sinister Doctor unbound by time or mortality as he desperately searches to steal and create the artefacts and people necessary to his achieving complete immortality and world domination. This Doctor is sexually alluring and quite prepared to kill as he straddles the centuries and the globe in his quest.
But this isn’t his story; it’s the stories of modern-day teenager Clare, with her messed-up family and the siblings she has to protect, and the stories of C17th teenagers Margarat and Martha, their loves and their children, French teenage twins in each of those eras, and even the story of Egyptian teenager Nefertaru, young priestess at the Temple of Sekhmet whose mummy has set the evil lose in London to bring plague and fire, and modern-day plagues too.
What is special about these novels, and I think particularly ‘Deceit’, is the way that it defies the usual teenage-read genres. This is a book that is rich and generous in what it offers readers. I suspect it will take readers into kinds of reading they may not have tried before because it packages so many story types together. It brilliantly combines fast-paced twisting thriller with fascinating historical context and characters, the social realism of the fractured modern family, boy-girl romance, along with teenagers coping with parental love for children. It includes sex and murder because that is what the story calls for.
Tautly written, the pace keeps going all the way through, and you have to keep your wits about you in order to keep track of all that is going on.
It might indeed surprise you with who does, and doesn’t, turn out to be trustworthy!
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