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In Washington, D.C., during the last days of the Civil War, a teenage boy who performs in a mind reading act befriends a clairvoyant girl whose frightening visions foreshadow an assassination plot on President Lincoln.
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Gary Blackwood is a playwright and the author of many books for young readers, including, Curiosity, Mysterious Messages: A history of Codes and Ciphers and Around the World in 100 Days. He is best known for the bestselling Shakespeare Stealer series. He lives in Nova Scotia.
Grade 5-8–Blackwood weaves an absorbing tale of espionage, conspiracy, and political intrigue. Set in Washington, DC, in 1864, the story focuses on Nicholas and Joseph Ehrlich, a father and son who develop a mind-reading act using a secret coded alphabet. They become successful performers who skillfully trick audiences into believing that they have extraordinary powers. Through their show-business career, they become acquainted with John Wilkes Booth and other political activists. Eventually Joseph meets Cassandra Quinn, a girl who seems to have true powers of clairvoyance. Through her second sight, she senses that something terrible is going to happen to President Lincoln, and Joseph becomes involved with her in trying to prevent a catastrophe. It is at this juncture that Blackwood begins to twist history with some surprising results. This is a well-researched, engrossing story grounded in historical detail. Many true historical figures interact with the fleshed-out fictional characters that move the story along. Overall, the narrator's conversational, candid asides are refreshing and entertaining, but at times they do interrupt the narrative flow. This is a minor drawback in an otherwise gripping tale that could be used as a springboard for some interesting class discussions.–Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
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Book Description Dutton Juvenile, 2005. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB010WFNV3U
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