The Ravenmaster's Boy

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Rescued from a plague cart, Kit is adopted by the Ravenmaster of the Tower of London. There he grows up, helping look after the ravens and learning that he can communicate with them. His life changes when King Henry and his new bride, Anne, arrive at the Tower with a new raven. Kit is enchanted by the young queen and when she is accused of adultery and committed to the Tower to await trail, he becomes her ‘Raven Knight’, committed to helping her in any was he can. With the help of the Tower ravens, Kit manages to foil a plot to harm the Princess Elizabeth.

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Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, died…

Familiar figures from history are vividly brought to life by Mary Hoffman in this wonderful novel. Anne Boleyn’s fall from grace is the focus of the story, encouraging the reader to empathise, through Kit’s devoted eyes, with the maligned second wife of the Tudor despot, Henry VIII.

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Mary Hoffman skilfully uses the Tower as a backdrop to the story which is full of rich historical detail. Each character is well drawn- including the ravens. Having been plucked from the plague cart, from beneath the dead bodies of his parents, rescued by the Ravenmaster, Kit’s magical ability to communicate with these fabulous birds gives a fantasy twist to a tale set in a time when blood flowed freely and the whims of a king could cost innocent people their lives.

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It is a beautiful piece of writing, perfect for history lovers, but also those who enjoy a cracking story with plenty of intrigue, mystery and action. Perhaps best for older readers due to some of the content, but an interesting and rewarding look at the Tudors from a viewpoint not often explored in the classroom.