11 year old Forrest Harper has lived within the walls of the Tower of London his whole life. Being the son of the ravenmaster isn’t easy; his day-to-day boring chores never seem to end, although he doesn’t mind helping taking care of the tower ravens.
When several Scottish rebels are captured and imprisoned in the Bloody Tower, Forrest finds himself befriending the young Maddy Stewart, who he knows is not guilty of any such treason as is being claimed against her.
Upon learning that it is the King’s intent to execute all three Jacobite rebels, Forrest and the ratcatcher’s boy are given the choice: stay true to England and keep their families safe, or risk their own necks to help an innocent victim who happens to be from enemy country.
What an interesting story! Although, to be honest, the title gives too much away from the very beginning.
It seems weird to me how lightly the author took heavy topics such as hangings, which were popular to watch in the 1700’s. Forrest happens to go watch, and it was a little gross to hear some of the descriptions of watching people hang. That was the only thing that really throws off the age range I would have given it. I would put an age cap on 14 as the oldest that would enjoy it.
I don’t have any bad things to say about this book, other than it may have been a bit predictable. The ending was very good, and wrapped up everything very nicely with a bow on top. The one thing I might have personally changed about the book was that I felt that both Forrest and Maddy were not very interesting people on their own, but the ratcatcher’s boy, called Rat, was very memorable.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Violence: 4/10 (the hangings were the only gross part in the story, and then there was a little violence aside, but none of the violence was graphic. Only the hangings.)
Audience: Ages 10-14, maybe 8 with parental prereading.