“A dazzling tale of wild hope, lingering grief, admirable self-sufficiency, and intergenerational adoration.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Vita tests her own limits, and readers will thrill at her cleverness, tenacity, and close escapes.” —Booklist
“A satisfying adventure.” —Kirkus Reviews
From award-winning author Katherine Rundell comes a fast-paced and utterly thrilling adventure driven by the loyalty and love between a grandfather and his granddaughter.
When Vita’s grandfather’s mansion is taken from him by a powerful real estate tycoon, Vita knows it’s up to her to make things right.
With the help of a pickpocket and her new circus friends, Vita creates the plan: Break into the mansion. Steal back what’s rightfully her grandfather’s. Expose the real estate tycoon for the crook he truly is.
But 1920s Manhattan is ever-changing and full of secrets. It might take more than Vita’s ragtag gang of misfits to outsmart the city that never sleeps.
Award-winning author Katherine Rundell has created an utterly gripping tour de-force about loyalty, trust, and the lengths to which we’ll go for the ones we love.
After a swindling Prohibition-era robber baron cheats Vita's grandfather out of his crumbling family castle on the Hudson River, she and her mother sail from England to assist him. Vita, who developed keen throwing skills during a bout of polio, greets New York City "as a boxer greets an opponent before a fight." Left to her own devices, she meets three talented children: Silk, a pickpocket, and two burgeoning circus performers who live in Carnegie Hall. Russian Arkady is deeply in tune with animals, and Samuel, a boy from Mashonaland, secretly trains as a trapeze artist. To help her grandfather, Vita persuades them to join her in a heist: break into the castle and find an emerald necklace ("large as a lion's eye") that belonged to her beloved late grandmother. Rundell hallmarks abound clever animals and children, themes of autonomy and cruelty (here frequently conveyed via the era's attitudes about ability and skin color). While the narrative build and heist occasionally succumb to unlikely moments, Rundell's (The Explorer) subtle telling and her protagonists' grit culminate in a dazzling tale of wild hope, lingering grief, admirable self-sufficiency, and intergenerational adoration. Ages 8 12.