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MissClark

Miss Clark

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The Silver Blade - Sally Gardner 3.5 Stars, read 16-17th November, 2009

Sequel to The Red Necklace, and the conclusion of Gardner's French Revolution series.

The story picks up approximately 18 months after the ending of The Red Necklace. Yann Margoza has been in France all this time rescuing people from the guillotine and the atrocities of the Revolution, risking everything in a dangerous bid to save lives following the tradition of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Yann has come to be known as the Silver Blade and it grows ever more perilous for him and his companions to continue their operations.

Meanwhile, Sido has been in London with her Aunt and Uncle Laxton. Her separation from Yann weighs heavily on her soul and she just wanders through her life, bereft of comfort and purpose, feeling ever more trapped. It is not until she and Yann begin to exchange letters that she starts to live again. With the exchange of these missives, the communication of thoughts, desires, ideas, Yann and Sido fall deeper in love until Yann declares himself to Sido.

Of course, at this point, things take a horrible, nasty turn toward doom and the total ruination of our leading cast's hopes and dreams. For Count Kalliovski survived, in a manner of speaking, and is hell-bent on obtaining Yann's powers. To that end, he abducts Sido, who carries Yann's talisman. Yann must face the truth of who his father was and find a way to save Sido, while around him Paris is collapsing as the Reign of Terror bears its final bitter fruit.

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As before, I enjoy Sally Gardner's style. It is highly visual and vivid. (Just thinking of her description of Count Kalliovski's catacomb residence gives me the chills because I can picture it all too clearly!) But I would have liked more backstory on Anis and Kalliovski. What did actually occur between them? Did Anis ever love him? He was obsessed with her, but did she willingly carry his child? Was she forced? Then he killed her in a rage... when she told him his future? She told him he had a choice, two roads... I wish that had been more fleshed out. I also wanted a more logical, solid set-up for how Kalliovski was defeated. All we have is a Gypsy story about a dog & the devil's own, a shell and an abyss. Huh? And I still think Sido would have benefited from more personality being shown.


For all those concerned, there is the usual gore, bloodshed, brutality and inhumanity associated with this tragic time period, as well as a scene of implied sex.


Also, the original ending was lost due to a computer mishap and rewrote,so it would be very interesting to see how it would have differed.