From the book jacket:
In Venice, magic is not unusual. Merle
is apprenticed to a magic mirror maker, and
Serafin -- a boy who was once a master thief
-- works for a weaver of magic cloth. Merle
and Serafin are used to the mermaids who
live in the canals of the city -- beautiful
creatures with hideous mouths that split
their faces from ear to ear -- and to the
guards who patrol the streets on living
stone lions. Merle herself possesses
something magical: a mirror whose surface is
water. She can reach her whole arm into it
and never get wet.
But Venice is under siege by the Egyptian Empire; its terrifying mummy warriors and flying sunbarks are waiting to strike. All that protects the Venetians is the Flowing Queen. Nobody knows who or what she is -- only that her power flows through the canals and keeps the Egyptians at bay. When Merle and Serafin overhear a plot to capture the Flowing Queen, they are catapulted into desperate danger. They must do everything they can to rescue the Queen and save the city -- even if it means getting help from the Ancient Traitor himself.
Comment: Set in a mythical medievalesque version of Venice - a ruined city under siege, replete with mermaids, flying stone lions and mummy warriors - this is a slightly off-beat series that is likely to appeal to readers aged about 12-years or more, who are able to keep track of multiple story threads and enjoy books by the likes of Diana Wynne Jones, Tamora Pierce or Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials etc).
'What a fantastic book!. The story is paced extremely well, starting quietly and simply, building in measured steps to breakneck thrill ride speed without losing any passengers (readers). Kai Meyer writes with a very particular literary shorthand which provides rich detail without sacrificing the forward momentum. There's a wonderful foreignness to the story, akin to Cornelia Funke's Thief Lord, which will appeal to readers yearning for an exotic experience.' - Christopher Stroth, Books Inc., Burlingame, CA.
This review was originally published in November 2005, and has been updated for the August 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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