Wickedness by Deborah White

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Wickedness by Deborah White

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A enjoyable dual-time novel set in present day and 17th century London. An ancient prophesy unites two red-headed girls from the same family. In the present, Claire is also dealing with the break-up of her parents' marriage. Lots to interest here: adventure, history, the supernatural and a little splash of romance.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Templar
ISBN: 1848775318

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Claire's grandmother has just died. And her parents have just split up. So it's not really a good time. Mum is being even more of a pain than usual - endlessly cross, endlessly cleaning, endlessly combing Gran's belongings for anything of value - and Claire wants nothing more than to go home to her own house and her own things. But then she finds a letter addressed to her from her grandmother. It contains a sheaf of manuscripts and a ring inscribed with a hieroglyph. Once on Claire's finger, the ring gets stuck - much to her mother's annoyance. It could be worth a pretty penny to the rather sinister Egyptologist who's interested in buying some of Gran's possessions.

Four hundred years ago, Margrat is also in possession of such a ring and her mother has a similarly mercenary outlook on life. And Margrat too meets a charismatic but sinister stranger who shows an unhealthy interest in her ring and Ancient Egyptian artefacts. In Margrat's London, the Great Plague of 1665 is taking hold, while for Claire in the present day, bird flu is striking fear into the hearts of the population...

I rather like books in which parallel stories from different periods gradually converge and Wickedness is a highly enjoyable example. Ancient prophecies are perhaps a little too popular a conceit at the moment but White writes a good one and I particularly liked the way that each of her heroines speak as people of their time. Margrat doesn't seem in the least anachronistic and her seventeenth century London is vividly described. But Claire is truly a modern teenager with modern preoccupations - divorce, independence, wanting a voice.

Wickedness will find a wide audience, appealing to those who like an historical thriller and those who can't get enough of the current preoccupation for the supernatural. But there's also a real kitchen sink family drama going on and a touch of romance, too. What more could you want? A promising debut from White.

My thanks to the good people at Templar for sending the book.

Ancient Egypt and the present day also collide in The Glittering Eye by LJ Adlington. And Ghost Chamber by Celia Rees has a similar blend of ancient conspiracy and family break-up. Those who like it when modern day kids actually head back into time will love Gideon the Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer.

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Buy Wickedness by Deborah White at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wickedness by Deborah White at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Wickedness by Deborah White at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wickedness by Deborah White at Amazon.com.


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