Review: The Assassin’s Curse by Kevin Sands

The Assassin’s Curse (Blackthorn Key)
By: Kevin Sands
Publisher: Aladdin

Christopher and Tom are back in the third installment of the thrilling Blackthorn Key series by Kevin Sands. The last book saw the duo, with the help of Sally, rid London of the plague. This makes King Charles very happy. To thank them for their service, the king sends Lord Ashcombe to invite the pair to a royal party.

While attending the party, Christopher uncovers a plot to assassinate the King. At the last possible second, he saves the King from an untimely death. Christopher decodes a messages that shows the plot was actually to attack the King’s sister, Minette, who was visiting from Paris. There’s an old curse stating that if certain nobles are killed, the treasure of the Knights of the Templar will be opened. Someone is trying to fulfill that curse to get their hands on the treasure, but Minette is standing in the way.

When Minette travels back to Paris, King Charles wants her protected without anyone knowing. A plan is constructed for Christopher, Tom, and Sally all go undercover to investigate the assassination attempts. Christopher gets a taste of nobility as his cover is of Baron Ashcombe, Lord Ashcombe’s grandson. Tom serves as Christopher’s servant, and Sally has been placed with a group of young ladies that accompanies Minette wherever she goes. With his new found nobility status, Christopher is able to investigate who is out to kill the King’s family.

While in Paris, the assassin is hard at work trying to kill Minnette by any means necessary. The gang of friends knows the assassin must be close to Minnette to have access to her palace. Christopher stumbles upon an old friend of Benedict Blackthorn, who has a long history with the Knights of the Templar. Aftering sharing knowledge of the riddles left behind by the Knights, they work together to solve complicated puzzles and ciphers. But time is running out to solve the riddles before a successful attempt is taken on Minette’s life.

The Assassin’s Curse is a perfect middle grade Da Vinci Code. The suspense, paired with information about the Knights Templar, makes this an excellent option for an inquisitive reader. Each book in the series gets more and more complicated, and the complexity of this novel was spot on. Kevin Sands has the innate ability to weave a complex story line into a smooth thriller. I’ve really enjoyed the character development of Sally over the last two books. I think she has really added depth to the series, and it’s clear that the duo is now a trio.

If you haven’t read this series, I would suggest you start at book one and catch up! This is a series that young readers from middle school to high school will enjoy.

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