Sunday, 4 September 2011

Book Review: THE LAST SEAL BY RICHARD DENNING

Genre:  YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Published:  March 2010
Pages:  374  (Paperback)
Source:  Received from author
My Rating:  8/10


About the Book:

A powerful demon has been trapped under the city of London for over 300 years. Now, however, malevolent forces are at work in the 17th century, planning to unleash terror and chaos on the world. Two rival secret societies the Liberati and the Praesidum - are caught in a battle that threatens to destroy the city and its unknowing inhabitants.

When a truant schoolboy, Ben, finds a scroll revealing the location of magical seals that bind the demon, this throws him into the centre of a dangerous plot that leads to the Great Fire of London. Ben must overcome his own problems - fear of failure, desire for revenge, guilt over his parents deaths - if he is to protect the city, and confront the evil demon.

As the plot unfolds, a little more of the mystery about Ben's own past and his parents deaths is made known. Ultimately, Ben and his friends must combat sorcery, defeat the evil Liberati and destroy the demon if they are to save their city and themselves.


(Taken from Goodreads) 


First Lines:


Just before the hour appointed for the service of Lauds - the sixth past midnight - a short figure stole down Ludgate Hill and out through the old city gate to a small church that lay beneath the shadow of St. Paul's Cathedral, which brooded over London like a mother hen protecting her clutch of chicks.


This is book one of the Praesidium series set in 17th century London.

This story starts in 1380 when a demon is summoned by a warlock inside the Cathedral and who then runs amok in central London ........ when a sorcerer manages to put him back in his prison the warlock vows to discover how to bring him back again, thus the battle between good and evil begins.

We are then taken to the year of the Great Fire of London, 1666, and introduced to the main characters of Ben, an orphaned school truant, Freya, the thief who lives on her wits, Tobias who wants the scroll that Ben finds and the bookseller Gabriel, member of the Praesidium.


There are some vivid descriptions including this of the Shambles in London where blood and offal from freshly butchered meat dripped on to the ground and ran off downhill.  All round the market, hawkers sold candles, beer, mussels, honeyed nuts and cane rods............beggars, prostitutes and pickpockets plying their trade.

This is such an exciting read, with lots of suspense and believable characters which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I loved the way the author weaved elements of fantasy around the historical facts of the Great Fire, all obviously meticulously researched.


Richard Denning's blog and details of the blog tour can be found here.



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