Synopses & Reviews
“For lovers of Aiken, Ellen Renners debut, Castle of Shadows, is not to be missed. . ."—Sunday Times
“An intriguing first novel from a promising new author.” —The Independent (London)
Ever since the Queen mysteriously disappeared and the King went mad five years ago, eleven-year-old Princess Charlie has lived a wild and mostly unsupervised life in the country of Quale, running amok through the castle instead of following affairs of state. Now revolution whispers through the air, and Charlie is powerless to stop it.
Then she discovers a clue: a desperate, unfinished letter scribbled years before by the missing Queen. Charlie doesnt understand the danger her mother writes of, but she does know that the Queen absolutely must be found—together, they can surely save the King and the kingdom.
So plucky Charlie embarks on a quest to track down her mother, armed with the precious scrap of paper and with Tobias, the gardeners boy, as an unlikely ally. Putting away her tattered old clothes, she must deal with games of political intrigue, the rebels rough-laid schemes, and the prime ministers sudden interest in the forgotten princesss well-being. And every step closer to the Queen pulls Charlie deeper into an entangling web of lies and secrets, where nothing is as it seems and people are not who they say . . .
"Renner's plot is both complex and compelling."--Booklist
"Renner's plot is both complex and compelling."and#160; and#8212;Booklist
"Smart writing that combines mystery, historical fantasy and a touch of steampunk...Readers will also delight in Charlie's transformation from hotheaded victim to shrewd leader--and friend."and#160; and#8212;Kirkus
"Charlie's transformation from scullery to rightful heir is an adventure not to be missed. Well written, well plotted, well done."and#160; and#8212;School Library Journal, starred review
"The shadowy passageways of a castle in ruin and an urban populace steeped in poverty and rebellion make for an ideal backdrop to the plot's many twists and turns."and#160; and#8212;Bulletin
Intrepid Theosodia, age 11, narrates a fantasy steeped in invented and authentic Egyptology, clashing secret societies and pre-WWI European intrigue.
It's the delicious, precise, and atmospheric details (nicely extended in Tanaka's few, stylized illustrations) that will capture and hold readers, from the contents of Theodosia's curse-removing kit to descriptions of the museum after hours, when Theodosia sleeps in a sarcophagus to ward off the curses of "disgruntled dead things." Kids who feel overlooked by their own distracted parents may feel a tug of recognition as Theodosia yearns for attention, and those interested in archeology will be drawn to the story's questions about the ownership and responsible treatment of ancient artifacts. A sure bet for Harry Potter fans, as well as Joan Aiken's and Eva Ibbotson's readers. This imaginative, supernatural mystery will find word-of-mouth popularity.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"Vivid descriptions of fog-shrouded London and hot, dusty Cairo enhance the palpable gothic atmosphere, while page-turning action and a plucky, determined heroine add to the book's appeal. . . A fine bet for a booktalk to classes studying ancient Egypt." School Library Journal
"There are surprises aplenty in LaFevers's spirited debut, a sort of Indiana Jones for girls and a perfect blend of mystery and humor. . . . Loads of evocative Egyptian history and an oh-so-plucky, resourceful narrator make this the first volume in a series to watch." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"Danger, mysterious museums stuffed with exotic treasures, and children who best adult evildoers are surefire ways to engage young readers, and LaFevers has combined them to good advantage here." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"...with Theo Throckmorton...girls have a truly independent role model." TimeOut New York
"Readers interested in archaeology will be drawn to the story's questions." Book Links January 2008 Book Links, ALA
Nothing is as it seems in thisand#160;middle gradeand#160;fantasy where a Queen has disappeared, a King has lost his mind, and a tomboy princess runs amok. When political unrest threatens her way of life, Princess Charlie must find her mother and save her kingdom amid dangers, lies and secrets.
Ever since the Queen mysteriously disappeared and the King went mad five years ago,
eleven-year-old Princess Charlie has lived a wild and mostly unsupervised life in the
country of Qualeand#8212;until now. With the discovery of an unfinished letter in the Queenand#8217;s
handwriting, Charlie embarks on a quest to find her mother and save the kingdom
from a revolution. With Tobias, the gardenerand#8217;s boy, by her side, every step closer to the
Queen pulls Charlie deeper into an entangling web of lies and secretsand#8212;as twisted as
the dark castleand#8212;where nothing is as it seems.
“Charlies transformation from scullery to rightful heir is an adventure not to be missed. Well written, well plotted, well done.”—School Library Journal,
Ever since the Queen mysteriously disappeared and the King went mad five years ago, Princess Charlie has lived a wild and mostly unsupervised life in the country of Quale—until now. With the discovery of a letter in the Queen's handwriting, Charlie embarks on a quest to find her mother and save the kingdom from a revolution. However, her journey pulls Charlie deeper into an entangling web of lies and secrets—as twisted as the dark castle—where nothing is as it seems.
Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father may be head curator, but it is Theoand#151;and only Theoand#151;who is able to see all the black magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts in the museum.
When Theoand#8217;s mother returns from her latest archaeological dig bearing the Heart of Egyptand#151;a legendary amulet belonging to an ancient tomband#151;Theo learns that it comes inscribed with a curse so black and vile that it threatens to crumble the British Empire from within and start a war too terrible to imagine. Intent on returning the malevolent artifact to its rightful place, Theo devises a daring plan to put things right. But even with the help of her younger brother, a wily street urchin, and the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers, it wonand#8217;t be easy . . . she quickly finds herself pursued down dark alleys, across an ocean, through the bustling crowds of Cairo, and straight into the heart of an ancient mystery. Theo will have to call upon everything sheand#8217;s ever learned in order to prevent the rising chaos from destroying her countryand#151;and herself!
About the Author
Yoko Tanaka lives in Los Angeles and Bangkok with her husband and three cats. In addition to illustrating the Theodosia books, she has also illustrated The Magicianand#8217;s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and a picture book, Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker. Her artwork can be found at yokotanaka.com