Skip to main content

The Crimson Shard

Review

The Crimson Shard

Sunni Forrest and Blaise Doran know what it takes to navigate unfamiliar territory. They managed to travel through Fausto Corvo’s famous painting, The Mariner’s Return to Arcadia, in THE BLACKHOPE ENIGMA and survived, so London should be a piece of cake. After visiting famous museums all morning, someone tells them about the Starling House. The Starling House is painted top to bottom with rolling landscapes, blue skies and everything else imaginable; even painted ladybugs dot the floors. Sunni and Blaise are so impressed that they don’t think twice when Throgmorton, the tour guide, takes a special interest in Blaise’s sketches --- and in Blaise himself. As Throgmorton ushers Blaise through a doorway that seems to have appeared out of nowhere, Sunni follows urgently with no idea what’s on the other side.

"Much like in the first book, Theresa Flavin focuses much of the plot in THE CRIMSON SHARD around the interesting world of art and artists. You don’t often get to know the back story behind famous artists, and Flavin has done an incredible job imagining what could have been."

At first, Sunni and Blaise expect to find more of the Starling House.  Instead, they find Jeremiah Starling! Somehow Throgmorton found a way to transport Sunni and Blaise back to the year 1752 and to the most peculiar circumstances. They stumble upon a workroom of sorts where Jeremiah Starling and several young boys are engrossed in copying famous works of art. With nowhere else to go --- and no choice in the matter --- Sunni and Blaise are forced into what amounts to slave labor. With long hours, little food, and no chance to escape, Sunni and Blaise fear they may never get back home.

Sunni and Blaise aren’t sure why Throgmorton would go to all the trouble to bring them back to copy famous works of art. When the name Fausto Corvo pops up in conversation, however, they realize that Throgmorton is after the secret of Corvo’s painting, something only Sunni and Blaise know how to access. Unwilling to tell Throgmorton about Corvo and sick of working all day, the two young artists decide to run away. With the help of two street crooks and a little luck, Sunni and Blaise venture out into the streets of London on their own with no idea of how to get back to their own time.

It isn’t until they hear about some traveling magicians that Sunni and Blaise finally feel any hope. While the magicians turn out to be a total bust (something about a fake mermaid and a centaur), the people seated by Sunni and Blaise decide to help them out. Throgmorton won’t let them out of his sights, though, and no matter where Sunni and Blaise go, he seems to find them. The problem is that he might be their only way back home. Now Sunni and Blaise must work up the courage to confront Throgmorton and face a secret from Fausto Corvo’s past.

Much like in the first book, Theresa Flavin focuses much of the plot in THE CRIMSON SHARD around the interesting world of art and artists. You don’t often get to know the back story behind famous artists, and Flavin has done an incredible job imagining what could have been. As always, the art itself plays a significant role in the main plot, and it’s easy to imagine what it looks like, as Flavin’s descriptions are rich and lush. While Sunni and Blaise don’t travel around in a painting this time around, you’ll still love their adventures through London as well as the many artists and pieces of artwork they encounter.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on September 28, 2012

The Crimson Shard
by Teresa Flavin