Synopses & Reviews
Originally published in India as The PetPost Secret Dhariwal's intriguing but convoluted debut opens as a sinister cloaked cat the Colonel murders his former mentor in pursuit of the key needed to read the mysterious Map of Brittle. The action then switches to Squirrel a message delivering slave in this world of animals whose fate changes when he drinks a glass of forbidden wine. With the help of his friends Squirrel learns that the key to the Map of Brittle is locked away in his mind and can be freed only by drinking a series of elixirs. As the animals unravel the clues that lead them to each drink they are pursued by the Kowas assassin crows working for the Colonel. Whoever gets the key and map first has the power to be free of slavery which Squirrel longs for but in the wrong hands they could be used to enslave everyone. The plot can feel Byzantine and some of the worldbuilding details are corny but the story is filled with action and twists as it explores friendship family and individuality. Benjaminsen's handsome charcoal portraits further flesh out Dhariwal's world. Ages 8–12. (Apr.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."