Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Ravenmaster's Secret: Escape from the Tower of London Audio

The Ravenmaster's Secret: Escape from the Tower of London Audio

Elvira Woodruff
For ages 8 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (Digital)
Performed/read by: Simon Vance
Findaway World, 2007   ISBN: 978-1598959390

The Tower of London is a place that inspires fear, a place where people come to be imprisoned, and a place where people come to die. And yet, there is another face to the imposing fortress. It is also home to the families of the men who guard and care for the prisoners, and who manage the tower itself. One of these men is the Ravenmaster, and it is he who cares for the ravens who are a symbol of the might of the tower. To help him in his duties he has his son, a small and dreamy boy who is bullied by the bigger boys who live within the walls of the tower. Forrest dreams of being able to leave the confines of the walls, to get away to the wide world beyond, where he would be able to prove his worth. He wishes more than anything to be able to be a hero in some way, and to show the world that he is not just an undersized eleven-year-old boy who helps his father care for the ravens and the mildest of prisoners in the Tower of London.

Forrest thinks his opportunity has arrived when he is told that he and his father are to care for some Scottish rebel prisoners. At last he is going to show the bullies that he can watch over a fierce traitor of the North, a big ferocious warrior. His hopes are dashed when he finds that his prisoner is a girl, a defenseless and remarkably pretty little Scottish girl. Furthermore, over time Forrest discovers that Maddy is not even guilty of the treason she is accused of. In fact she is guilty of no more than of wanting to save her family and her home from destruction. Now Forrest faces a terrible choice; is he going to help Maddy and risk his own life and the honor of his family, or is he going to watch her lose her life for a crime that she did not commit?

With great delicacy and sensitivity the author has succeeded in getting into the heart and mind of Forrest, understanding his world to an extraordinary degree. Not only does she see things through a boy's eyes, but she sees things through the eyes of a boy living in the Tower of London in 1735. Suspenseful and touching, this is a thrilling and wonderful story to listen to, and Kate Reading does a masterful job interpreting the personalities of the characters.