The Traitor’s Gate

“Not only was the name of my hero taken from the writer, one of the key incidents of the writer’s life – his father’s imprisonment for debt – lies at the heart of this story.”  Avi

raudeAt the risk of self-plagiarism (August 2016 post @ St. Alban’s Librarian review pages), I must share with you, dear friends, my astonishment with this children’s book – The Traitor’s Gate: a novel by Avi. This Newbery Award author, with this very title, has created a stellar enticement for young readers. Combining his love of writing, biographical details from the life of Charles Dickens,  a vocabulary from the time period, and the publishing format,(along with pen and ink illustrations) for Dickens’s work, this historical mystery pulls you into the dark world of mid-century Victorian London.

I had no intention of reading this title, as I am a lukewarm fan of the author (I know!); however, I am a fan of Victorian settings, mysteries, and children’s lit. What else could I do when I was given (I tell you honestly!) a second copy of this book?  It has taken me on a literary adventure, and then some.  Not only have I discovered the genius  of this author, and found a palatable way to share the writer, Charles Dickens with my Form A students, but my serendipitous discovery about another author has opened unknown doors!  While researching “read-alikes” for my now barefoot and sun-baked students, I stumbled across information heretofore unknown by me.  Leon Garfield, author of Smith, another Victorian era children’s mystery and a favorite was married to yet another British  children’s author – Vivian Alcock!  Who is Vivian Alcock, you ask?  Ahh, that is for another post. First, I begin my summer research with much anticipation toward reading her works.

Avi. .  New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007. Print.


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