The Bloodline Cipher by Stephen Cole

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The Bloodline Cipher by Stephen Cole

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: More high octane adventures in the Thieves Like Us series. This time Coldhardt's gang has competition. It's an enjoyable and thrilling genre read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 0747593965

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Jonah Wish has another code to crack. His boss has sent him and the rest of the team to retrieve an ancient grimoire - an old book of laws which may contain valuable secrets. In some circles, it could fetch a handsome price. And so Jonah, Tye, Mottie, Con and Patch go in search of the Bloodline Cipher, a search that will take them from LA to the Philippines and back again. A search that will, as ever, put their very lives in danger.

However, it seems as though Coldhardt's gang is not the only gang in search of this artifact. When they go in to get it, they discover another team has beaten them to it. Shockingly, someone knows more about it than they do. Coldhardt's ex-mentor and nemesis appears to have returned from the dead and set himself up in competition. When the team seek answers, every clue leads them straight back to Coldhardt. Something's going on, but nobody's telling them what.

The Bloodline Cipher is the third in Stephen Cole's series about this team of crack teen thieves and their enigmatic boss, Nathaniel Coldhardt. Fans won't be disappointed in it. The action keeps up the usual frenetic pace and everything is as Indiana Jones as usual. Extra ingredients are dropped into the mix in the form of some love interest for Jonah and some backstory on the mysterious Coldhardt. The relationships between the young criminals intensify and complicate. And the baddies are as satisfyingly bad as you could wish them to be.

Mostly though, it's all in the action. These are plot-driven genre books and really not up my alley at all if I'm honest. I quite like this sort of escapist entertainment in films, but not really in books. However, Stephen Cole isn't silly, and his books aren't silly either. They are light, and fun, and they don't have too much too say that is worthy or serious. But you do care about the characters, which are all well-rounded and three-dimensional, and you are interested to see how they develop.

The central character, Jonah, is probably the most winning, but you find yourself investing in them all. There's a great deal of loneliness in their collective pasts, and they cling onto this "family" with all the strength they can muster. Aside from the crime caper storylines, this is something with which we can all identify and is the hook which lifts the series above the fun but instantly forgettable.

Recommended for all young action freaks aged from ten to fifteen.

My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.

Junior thriller fans could also look at Sure Fire by Jack Higgins. If it's fun and silliness you're after then try Ondine: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna.

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