Monday, January 16, 2012

Booktalk: The Red Necklace (Virginia Readers' Choice for 2011-2012)

A good horror movie keeps you on the edge of your seat. Although this book is not a horror movie – in fact, it’s set during the French Revolution – it’s got a character named Count Kalliovski who would fit in fine to any horror movie.

There are signs that the Count is the devil in human form. The count is incredibly wealthy, seems ageless, lends people money, and in exchange, gets their deepest, darkest secrets. In other words, he’s extremely powerful. He can get people to do virtually whatever he wants. His private motto is, “Have no mercy, show no mercy.” This is a dangerous sentiment to have during the French Revolution, a time of great upheaval, violence, murder and instability in France.

And the Count is going after a young gypsy boy named Yann who can read people’s minds. The Count is pretty relentless, too, when he wants someone dead. His victims are found wearing a red necklace which resembles drops of blood. It’s sort of his own personal way of saying, “I did this.” Can the devil be successfully evaded?

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner. 378 p. Dial Books: 2007. Booktalk to high school. Virginia Readers' Choice for 2011-2012.

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