Saturday 4 December 2010

THE KISS OF DEATH by Marcus Sedgwick

Venice and vampires. The Shadow Queen has retreated to her lair to gather her strength and recruit a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation.

Marcus Sedgwick’s tale of Venice and vampires is a captivating companion volume to the bestselling My Swordhand is Singing. Marko and Sorrel meet in Venice for the first time. They must uncover the mystery of what has happened both to Sorrel’s father, plagued by a strange madness that prevents him from sleeping, and to Marko’s father, a doctor, who has mysteriously gone missing after travelling to Venice to help his old friend.

Years on from My Swordhand is Singing and Peter is still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. His search leads him to Venice, a city whose beauty disguises many ugly secrets. The Shadow Queen is there, gathering strength, recruiting a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation. This fabled city with its lapping waterways, its crumbling magnificence, dark, twisting alleyways and surprising piazzas is the perfect setting for Marcus’s captivating gothic novel of love and loss in C18th Venice.

After reading several Marcus Sedgwick novels, I couldn't wait to get stuck into this one. And when I found out that it's a companion to MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING, I was very excited. I love vampires, and absolutely loved the different take in that book.

Marko is a young man who leaves his home to go to Venice in search of his father. When he gets there, he meets up with a young girl called Sorrel. She's not very happy to see him, because when she sent Alessandro's letter to the doctor's house, it was in hopes of finding someone who could help her. She's convinced that Marko won't be able to do that. But she's wrong.

Together, Marko and Sorrel manage to find their way around Venice and the surrounding islands, slowly being led from one dangerous situation to another. They're actually able to discover a much deeper and darker plot than they expected. Something that will not only help cure Sorrel's father's madness and lead them to Marko's missing father, but also help the whole of Venice escape the clutches of a very dangerous threat.

I got a real kick out of seeing Peter again, too. He was the main character in MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING. In this book he's a lot older--actually, he's an old man--and is pretty much all alone in the world, with only his sword and the ambition to track down and destroy the Shadow Queen. He's still in pursuit of ending her reign of terror.

The Kiss Of Death was another intriguing and wonderful book by this very talented author. I really enjoyed finding out the truth behind the sword that Tomas tried to keep hidden for so many years. Also, the Shadow Queen's story is finally revealed and we not only get to meet her and find out what she's been doing, but also how she became this horrible dark figure in the first place. Oh, and I loved the ending.

This one's another keeper!

The Kiss of Death, June 2009, ISBN 978-1-84255-689-4 , Orion Children's Books

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