The Crimson Shard
Fourteen-year-old friends Sunniva Forrest and Blaise Doran visit a private museum in Phoenix Square, London. Blaise is excited at the prospect of seeing the old house, whilst Sunni, who is also creative, follows him in. The interior is painted in a fashion where the art is deceptive: paintings give the appearance of being real objects. When their mysterious guide shows them a painted doorway, which forms into the real thing, he lures them through it and traps them in the murky life of 18th-century London. Here they are kept in the company of boys who work in an artist’s academy. This is a world of art thieves, forgers, body snatchers and murderers. Their captor wants information from them about an ancient secret, but Sunni and Blaise will not divulge this powerful information and seek only to return to their own time and home.
This is a follow on title to The Black Enigma but stands alone as an action-packed adventure. After reading it, I would certainly enjoy reading the first book. The amount of detail never slows the pace or interrupts the flow of the story. The characters, both good and bad, are well formed and intriguing. From their first step through the doorway, I wanted to know how they would return safely to the 21st century. The plot never sags, and the severity of the period is captured, but is not overstated.
I would recommend this novel as an entertaining read, which should appeal across the genders.