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Sally Gardner grew up and still lives in London. Being dyslexic, she did not learn to read or write until she was fourteen and had been thrown out of several schools, labeled unteachable, and sent to a school for maladjusted children. Despite this, she gained a degree with highest honors at a leading London art college, followed by a scholarship to a theater school, and then went on to become a very successful costume designer, working on some notable productions. After the births of twin daughters and a son, she started first to illustrate and then to write picture books and chapter books, usually with fairytale- or otherwise magical subject matter. She has been called "an idiosyncratic genius" by London's Sunday Times. I, Coriander is her first book for older readers, and she is currently working on a second.
Gr 7 Up-This sequel to The Red Necklace (Dial, 2008) is a rousing historical romance brimming with adventure and with a ghost story at its heart. Set during the period of the Jacobin Terror after the French Revolution, it is the story of a young Romany man with the heart of a heroic trickster. Yann Margoza is able to control threads of light, which gives him the power to immobilize people, a useful quality for someone engaged in the dangerous business of rescuing people bound for the guillotine and transporting them to England. Yann's great love, Sido, is safely there, but differences in class and status make it difficult for them to envision a future together. Count Kalliovski, dead but walking the streets after a pact with the forces of evil, wants to kill Yann and have Sido for himself. Skillfully plotted and with an unflagging pace, the novel shows Yann and Sido facing many dangers, from Kalliovski and his deadly hound, Balthazar, to the corrupt and brutal officials of the French government. Sufficient backstory is provided for those who have not read the previous title. The historical detail is deftly integrated into the action, and the fears and anxieties of ordinary people are vividly brought to life. The creepiness of Kalliovski and the other macabre ghosts in the catacombs of Paris will keep readers riveted. Gardner combines some gorgeous writing and evocative descriptions with appealing characters to create a sweeping adventure.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
-A luscious melodrama, rich in sensuous detail from horrific to sublime, with an iridescent overlay of magic.+ -Kirkus Reviews