The Ravenmaster's Secret: Escape from the Tower of London

by Elvira Woodruff

In the year 1735, the anticipated arrival of three Scottish prisoners at the Tower... read more

In the year 1735, the anticipated arrival of three Scottish prisoners at the Tower of London presents 11-year-old Forrest Harper with the opportunity he’s been looking for—proving to the bigger boys who torment him that he has the courage to guard a rebel. In truth, Forrest, son of the Tower’s Ravenmaster, would much rather be with the birds, especially his beloved raven Tuck, or imagining himself sailing the open ocean. He has no stomach for things such as public hangings, and he ended up befriending the last prisoner he helped guard. When the new prisoners arrive, Forrest finds himself assigned to an 11-year-old girl, daughter of one of the Jacobite prisoners. Guarding a girl is no way to prove his bravery, he knows. But as he listens to Maddy talk of the Scot’s oppression under English rule, Forrest begins to doubt things he always believed to be true about the righteousness of the English crown. And when Maddy’s life hangs in the balance, Forrest does what he believes is right, despite his fears of what will happen if he is caught. Elvira Woodruff’s novel is compelling fiction set against the richly realized backdrop of life in and around the Tower of London in the first half of the eighteenth century. A map of the Tower and its environs, a glossary, and a narrative condensing facts about the Tower through time provide material for readers who want to know more about the story’s setting. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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