cover image The Devil’s Apprentice

The Devil’s Apprentice

Jan Siegel. Rebellion/Ravenstone (S&S, dist.), $9.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-78108-147-1

Siegel (a pseudonym for Sangreal Trilogy author Amanda Hemingway) launches a series with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tale spanning time and space. In present-day London, 13-year-old Penelope Anne Tudor, an aspiring lawyer, is selected by a walking, talking dead man to act as executor for his estate, only to discover that the house she now watches over has doors that lead to places real and unreal, historical and fantastical. While searching for the house’s next caretaker, Pen meets a resourceful 15-year-old named Gavin and a young witch, Jinx; together the trio explores the places beyond the doors and learns how it all ties into the Devil’s plan to select a successor. Siegel mixes humor (the dead man’s false teeth chatter to themselves) with darker elements (17th-century London during a plague) and interludes that have an almost mythic quality as she spins a gradually unfolding narrative. The numerous elements and fluctuating tone keep the overall story from truly coming together, but it’s still a fascinating, ambitious beginning—one that may yet reach its potential. Ages 12–up. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Agency Ltd. (Sept.)