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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Dance of the Assassins
by Herve Jubert
Age Range: 14+
Dance of the Assassins is set in the future, where technological advances have meant that for generations the city of Basle – with its amazing virtual reality replica historical cities – has been a crime-free zone. However, when a gruesome murder takes place in a dark alley of Victorian London, it has all the hallmarks of Jack the Ripper! Roberta Morgenstern, a qualified witch from the Academy of Sorcery and her assistant, Clément Martineau, a recent graduate from the police academy, are assigned the task of solving the murder. In order to find out who is resurrecting some of history’s most notorious murderers, they must trace the steps of a criminal mastermind. This leads them through a number of virtual eras from 19th Century London, 17th Century Paris of Louis XIV and Renaissance Venice to Montezuma’s Mexico, where they find themselves having an assignation with the Devil himself.
This book is imaginative, dark and complex with its mix of graphic novel, historical and detective fictional influences. Like its sequel, Devil’s Tango it is a compelling read with some ingenious plotting and plenty of twists that at times can be difficult to follow. The darkness is counteracted by humour and some endearing characters.
Hervé Jubert is a gifted and exciting writer full of inventiveness and both books are beautifully translated by Anthea Bell. Challenging novels, full of theatrical flourish, they will appeal to older readers, especially boys.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)