The Poisons of Caux: The Hollow Bettle (Book I) by Susannah Appelbaum - A rep dropped this off at the bookstore. Thank you Random House. I am very happy they did because chances are I would have missed a really good story. Appelbaum's language is so much fun. After the first paragraph I knew I was in for a treat.
" It's an astonishing feat that young Ivy Manx was not poisoned during Mr. Flux's tenure as her taster. There were corrupt times in Caux, the land being what it was- a hotbed of wickedness and general mischief. The odds were stacked against anyone surviving their next meal, unless they had in their employ a half decent, Guild-accredited taster. A taster, such as Mr. Flux maintained himself to be."
11yr old Ivy Manx lives with her uncle Cecil, at the tavern he owns the Hollow Bettie. The other Hollow Bettie, resident is Shoo. A very smart crow who saves Ivy more than once. The city of Caux is a dangerous place, everyone must be on alert or be poisoned. Ivy and her uncle live outside the city. The story opens with Ivy's uncle off to try to cure the king of an aliment. In better times, Cecil was a famous healer. Many people have turned to using herbs and plants to kill. Ivy's uncle is still teaching her the art of apotheopathy, to use herbs to heal. In his place, Cecil's left the questionable Mr. Flux. A year passes, Ivy's uncle hasn't returned. She decides to go see about her uncle. Ivy is accompanied by Rowan Truax. Rowan is a young, just graduated from the taster's guild, unfortunately he's a horrible taster. The first day on the job his charges , men who work for the king are poisoned. Rowan must disappear or lose his tongue. He decides to go along with Ivy to Caux. Poisons of Caux was a delight to read. Appelbaum introduces some nice characters, I look forward to seeing them again. I've left out a lot but it would be wrong not to mention Vidal Verjouce, he runs the tasters guild.
"Yet it was Verjouce's eyes that were by far his most frightening feature- not because his eyes once were now rested only hollow pits and discolored knots of scar tissue. The frightening thng about his eyes was that he was the source of his own disfigurement- having blinded himself with his own hands to devote himself more fully to the sense of taste."
Poisons of Caux is scheduled to be released on August 11. Ages 10
Read an excerpt