Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Opening in 1735, Woodruff's (Dear Levi) historical novel has much to say about the nature of war, judgment and prejudice. Eleven-year-old Forrest lives with his family in the Tower of London, where his father serves as Ravenmaster, tending to the royal birds and keeping watch over whatever prisoners come his way. When one of a trio of captured Scottish rebels is placed in their care, Forrest, who has been raised to believe the Scots are devils, is hostile at first ("She's not like you and me," Forrest says to his best friend, Rat, about an imprisoned Scottish countess, "for she is not English. She's a Scot"). But the new prisoner is a girl, Maddy, the daughter of a rebel leader, and in the course of bringing Maddy her meals, he begins to see that she is in fact very much like him. Forrest begins to question everything he believes and, with the help of Rat (who seems headed for a dismal fate as a chimneysweep's "climber"), Forrest helps stage a risky escape for both Rat and Maddy. The resulting chase offers a spirited wrap-up, yet what readers may find even more engrossing is Forrest and Maddy's growing sense of empathy and understanding as they realize the shaky ground on which their prejudices are built. The period touches will fascinate readers, too-from the stench of the moat to Forrest's mother's thrill at a public hanging. A colorful tale. Ages 8-12. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A young boy aids a prison escape in this adventurous historical fiction. Forrest lives at the Tower of London, which in 1735 has a jail and execution grounds. He helps his Ravenmaster father bring food to their prisoner and tend the Tower birds. When their newest prisoner turns out to be the faithful daughter of a Scottish Jacobite rebel, Forrest begins to question the terrible things he's always heard about Scots. He befriends Maddy, and when her father and uncle are murdered trying to escape, he swears to help her--despite an inevitable treason conviction if he's caught. Pet raven Tuck and loyal chimney-sweep Ned figure into Maddy's escape, and the neat ending is not unwelcome after unpleasant details of indentured children, adult corruption, and merciless law. Occasional cheapness ("'there would surely be no war'" if children never grew up) is outweighed by courage, friendship, and the earnest, fast-moving story. (map, author's note, history of the Tower, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 9-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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