The story of a remarkable boy called Yann Margoza; Tetu the dwarf, his friend and mentor; Sido, unloved daughter of a foolish Marquis; and Count Kalliovski, Grand Master of a secret society, who has half the aristocracy in thrall to him, and wants Yann dead.
Yann is spirited away to London but three years later, when Paris is gripped by the bloody horrors of the Revolution, he returns, charged with two missions: to find out Kalliovski's darkest deeds and to save Sido from the guillotine.
With a tangle of secrets, a thread of magic and a touch of humour, the follies of the aristocracy and the sufferings of ordinary people are unfolded as their lives move relentlessly towards the tragic and horrific days of the Terror. THE RED NECKLACE is not only a tremendous adventure story but a vibrant and passionate picture of Paris in turmoil and of a large cast of memorable characters.
Set during the French Revolution, Gardner's (I, Coriander) epic and tautly plotted tale engages readers from the start with its combination of romance and history, mystery and magic. Yann Magoza, an orphan, travels with entertainers who use supernatural powers in their act; Yann himself can read minds. As the novel opens, Yann and his companions are brought to a marquis's chateau, where Yann has a brief but fateful meeting with the foolish and cruel marquis's brave daughter, Sidonie, and where the marquis's associate, a scheming count, brutally but cleverly murders one of the magicians. The pace retains this thrilling momentum all the way through the heart-stopping climax. As Gardner slowly discloses Yann's and Sido's heritages, she ratchets up tension about the marquis's and the count's plans for Sido. She lards her story with intriguing details, like the red garnet necklaces left like signatures with a series of murder victims, and threads of light that make Yann's magic possible. The novel also paints vivid, convincing pictures of the Revolution: characters glimpse the massed thousands of Parisian women marching to Versailles, pitchforks in hand, demanding bread, and mobs setting upon suspected aristocrats. Suspenseful, complex and haunting. Ages 12 up.