The Blackthorn Key
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Following a series of murders, an apothecary’s apprentice must solve puzzles and decipher codes in pursuit of a secret that could destroy the world in this “spectacular debut” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”
Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way.
But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.
In his stunning debut novel, Kevin Sands brings readers on a heart-stopping adventure rich with suspense, mystery, and unforgettable characters.
crowd. Lord Ashcombe moved to where the others waited. The flower bed had turned to mud in the morning’s rain. The man with the shovel had finished what the dog had started, digging a long hole in the dirt. The stone angel behind it looked down, wings folded, an expression of sorrow on his face. The King’s Warden stared with him, then crouched down and reached inside. He came up with what looked like a muddy club. It wasn’t. Lord Ashcombe brushed off the dirt. The men beside him backed away.
felt a lot better about growing up at Cripplegate than I ever had before. So, Puritan or not, he didn’t seem so awful to me. Still, I supposed Lord Ashcombe, who’d been exiled for nine years with King Charles in France and the Netherlands, had plenty of reasons to feel differently. When our king returned, Lord Ashcombe had spearheaded the purge of Puritans from the ranks of power. Those who were proven traitors—and some who weren’t—were executed. The way he glared at Oswyn now made me think the
think he left the city.” “You think. What if he’s—” Tom’s eyes went wide. “Oh, no. No, no. No, no, no.” “Calm down,” I said. “He’s not in there. I’m sure of it.” Well, almost sure. It was possible that Hugh had been murdered. Yet I didn’t think he had. The Cult’s murders were . . . showy, I guess. As if they wanted everyone to see what they’d done. If they’d killed Hugh, they would have left a grisly sign of it, as with all the others. Or so I believed. As much as I tried to hide it from Tom,
notice the jars on the table. Then he saw the parchment with the code Tom and I had left beside them. My master peered at it, turned it over. I couldn’t read his expression. “You deciphered this?” he said. I nodded. Hugh took the page from my master’s hands and examined it. He glanced up at Master Benedict. Something seemed to pass between them, but I couldn’t tell what they were thinking. I felt a sudden swell of hope. My master was always pleased when I surprised him with something new.
ripped with it. I lay in the gutter, too hurt to move. My hand pressed against my wounded arm. The piercing pain in my scalp made me wonder if Tom’s father had torn out enough hair to leave me as bald as Oswyn. Tom moved to help me. His father punched him across the cheek before he could even get out the door. Tom crashed against the wall and held his hand to his face, stricken. William Bailey loomed over me. “You abused my trust, boy.” It was true that Tom’s father had allowed me to stay at