Wow! I loved this! 'Secrets of the Snakestone' by debut author Piu Dasgupta is a tremendous adventure simmering with intrigue, danger and superstition. From sewers to rooftops, 'Secrets of the Snakestone' immerses you in a vivid, eccentric and shadowy 19th century world, by way of Calcutta and Paris. It's a cracking yarn with a touch of the classic: Dickensian hardships with the flourish of a Jules Verne escapade. With its eye-catching cover art by Helen Crawford-White, this book feels really fresh and different. I think this will certainly be a standout title when its published in March!
Zélie is often accused of being a witch, but she doesn't believe in magic. Until Jules climbs up from the reeking Parisian sewer and hands Zélie the golden locket he discovered there. The locket once held the magical Snakestone, and Zélie knows that if she can find the stone, she might also find her missing father. But a dangerous secret society are equally desperate to get their hands on the Snakestone and its powers. With their lives under threat, Zélie and Jules embark on a desperate hunt for the treasure, facing strange riddles, a mysterious circus, and the miles of murky tunnels that twist beneath the ancient city above...
Piu Dasgupta is a brilliant new author for children and one to watch. Her writing is engaging and distinctive, drawing the reader into an engrossing world of shadows, mysteries and surprising historical detail. From the off, we're plunged into sewers with rats and onto rooftops with pigeons. From underground to above the streets, there is no place the adventure won't go. Piu Dasgupta's eccentrically marvellous cast of characters are fleshed out so well: from our swashbuckling heroine Zelie to her trusty sewer-boy companion Jules; to circus fortune-tellers and fire-eaters; to dark-hooded secret society villains. There's a feast of the fantastic too: magic lanterns, crystal balls, riddles and, of course, the mysterious snakestone itself. Oh there's so much to enjoy and to be immersed in!
I really can't wait to see what Piu Dasgupta will write next as she's such a unique new talent with an imagination for the fantastique!
Thank you to Nosy Crow for sending me the proof copy to review.