by Anne Blankman
Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects (except for Elizabeth Milton). The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.
Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s men arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?
When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society. (Summary taken from cover flap)
Why I picked it up:
I enjoyed Anne Blankman’s previous books Prisoner of Night and Fog as well as Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. Although this one is totally different, I thought I would give it a try.
Why I finished it: This unusual work of historical fiction includes actual historical figures such as Thomas Milton, Galileo and King Charles II along with historical events such as the Great Fire of London and the Plague of 1666 all wrapped up in an intriguing mystery full of romance, hidden clues and dark secrets. As the mystery slowly unraveled I had to continue my journey through a plot that (for better or worse) frequently reminded me of The DaVinci Code.
I’d give it to: Teens who like their historical fiction with a taste of adventure and intrigue. Not to mention like their heroines to be strong young women with a will of their own who are determined to break convention.
I’d give it: 3 stars
Reviewed by: Connie (Schinmelpfenig Library)