Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Tin Princess

The Tin Princess

Philip Pullman
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Random House, 2008   ISBN: 978-0375845147

Jim Taylor, a detective in Victorian London, has been given the job of protecting a young woman. At first, he has no idea who the woman is, but soon he realizes that she is a girl he knew many years ago, who was abducted by an evil woman. Though she is a working class girl who has had some rather dubious experiences, Adelaide caught the eye of Prince Rudolph of Razkavia, and she is now married to him. Jim is appalled that his old friend is a princess. How can a girl like her know how a princess is supposed to behave?

In addition to hiring Jim to watch over Adelaide, the prince has also hired a young woman called Rebecca Winter to teach his new wife some German. Becky is amazed to find out that her new pupil is the princess of the country that Becky fled from with her mother some years ago. How extraordinary that she, of all people, should be hired to teach the princess.

After his older brother and his brother’s wife are killed, Prince Rudolph decides that he must go back to his homeland. He must tell his father about his marriage, and take his place at the king’s side. The prince asks Jim and Becky to go to Razkavia with them, knowing that he is going to need to have at least some friends on his side in the months to come. It is only after they get to Razkavia that the prince, his wife, and their new friends really appreciate what a mess they have walked into. Razkavia is in the grip of political chaos, and anything could happen.

This final book in the Sally Lockhart series brings Jim Taylor’s character to the forefront. Always a clever and able young man, Jim finds himself in the middle of a situation that is alien and very dangerous indeed. All he really wants to do is to keep Adelaide safe, but he is forced to take on a much bigger charge – to help to save a country. Packed full of adventures, villains, royal assassinations and much more, this is a novel that will delight readers who like a tale that takes one to a different time and place.