The Book of Lies

James Moloney, Author . HarperCollins $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-057842-8

M oloney (A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove ) starts off with an interesting premise before meandering into pedestrian fantasy territory. A boy is brought to an orphanage and implanted with a false memory and given the name Marcel. He meets a girl named Bea who tells him of the magician Lord Alwyn who lives in the tower above the orphanage. Bea shows Marcel a book created by Lord Alwyn when he was “Master of the Royal Books”; this “book of lies” magically displays any spoken words that are untrue. Then a note arrives from someone claiming to be a friend of Marcel’s father, asking him to flee; Marcel and three friends manage to escape the orphanage. He and a girl named Nicola learn that they are siblings—and heirs to the throne, which is currently held by the usurper Pelham who ousted their parents. Starkey, the man who wrote the note to Marcel, enlists their help in freeing the “real” king and queen; his motives seem suspicious from the start, making the tale’s twist less than surprising. Opening chapters are atmospheric and creepy, and the book of lies itself is one of the most fascinating characters. However, clichés abound—lengthy travel sequences, prophecies of doom, complex monarchial trees—which may disappoint some readers in the end. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/23/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Library Binding - 360 pages - 978-0-06-057843-5
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-00-714079-4
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-207-20035-9
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