January 2014, Egmont, 368 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Summary from Egmont
Moss hates her life. As the daughter of the Executioner in the Tower of London, it's her job to catch the heads in her basket after her father has chopped them off. She dreams of leaving, but they are prisoners with no way out.
Then Moss discovers a hidden tunnel that takes her to freedom, where she learns that her life isn't what she believes it to be and she doesn't know who to trust.
Her search for the truth takes her on a journey along the great River Thames. Could the answers lie deep in its murky depths?
Even with a blurb and a front cover I'd managed to create a rough guess in my head what Moss's adventure would be like. I was partially correct, Moss had a huge issue with her father's job, not that I blame her. As for the rest, well, that was a pleasant surprise. I expected there to be grisly bits, which there were, but I didn't expect the supernatural element. Despite having read books with a river witch in them, I was a tad apprehensive about how Moss's adventure would end.
Salter, the young thief she meets has two sides to his personality, both of which Moss sees. He provides both joy and sadness to Moss, as does her father. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with the queen, as well as when Moss was brave and took her life in her own hands, often literally. There are many creepy moments, but they fade away by the extremely touching surprise ending. Moss's heart is in the right place, and she demonstrates that everyone benefits from compassion and love in their life. It was fun getting to learn historical details - the food for a feast had me wanting to puke because it was rather gruesome what they did. *shudders* However, I thought Moss would have looked beautiful in her unusual white cape, and such was the power of the story that I could feel it around me. The lower grade is due to the spookiness of the tale which I hadn't quite been in the mood for.
Other story full of adventure is The Lady In The Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen (Children's, 11 years +, 8/10E)