Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
The Assassin's Curse: Blackthorn Key, Book 3
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kevin Sands' The Assassin's Curse, the latest installment in the Blackthorn Key series, is packed with history, science, French, Latin, and other interesting bits of knowledge. The story finds England's King Charles II, newly restored to the throne, sending young apothecary Christopher, his friend Tom the baker's son, orphanage pal Sally, and talented pigeon Bridget to France to stop a would-be murderer. There's death by poison, sword, wasp attack, burning at the stake, impalement on rock formations, and more, plus plenty of swordplay, hand-to-hand combat, and treacherous mayhem. The friends show a lot of courage, creativity, and teamwork as they face some of history's greatest challenges -- including the really nasty ones due to no plumbing and the resulting sewage in walkways -- and try to stay alive. There's a bit of budding romance between the 13-year-old protagonists, and references to lovers and mistresses in the intrigue-ridden court.
What's the story?
What is THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE -- and who are the shadowy figures hell-bent on wiping out the royal family of France? Seventeenth-century English teens Christopher, Tom, and Sally and the brave pigeon Bridget, tasked by Charles II himself, are soon on their way to the court of Louis XIV to find out. It all seems to have something to do with the Knights Templar. And a famous painting. Also a poem written in cipher. Our heroes face many dire perils en route to a conclusion that suggests their troubles are just beginning.
Is it any good?
Author Kevin Sands delivers another harrowing, hilarious, heartrending page-turner set in the 17th century, this time with his teen protagonists sent to spy on the court of Louis XIV. The Assassin's Curse delivers a bit about deciphering codes, the history of the Knights Templar, and just the right chemicals for dissolving gold. There's lots of historic detail, suspenseful intrigue, and opportunity to cheer the appealing heroes -- who need all the help they can get.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Assassin's Curse as historical fiction. Do you think it makes history more relatable if you can see it through the eyes of a fictional character, or would you rather stick to the facts?
If your family originally spoke a language other than English (like Sally's family in the story), and then started speaking English, do you still speak the original language, or have you forgotten it?
Do you think cemeteries are really interesting, or just creepy?
- Author: Kevin Sands
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, History, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Aladdin
- Publication date: September 5, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 544
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love adventures and historical fiction
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.