The Sign of the Black Rock

The Sign of the Black Rock

by Scott Chantler
     
 

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Young readers (and adults, too) will feel transported by the clever, intricate plotline and superb, sweeping illustrations of this second title in the Three Thieves series. The action resumes as our three goodhearted fugitives stop at a roadside inn during a ferocious thunderstorm. Narrow escapes ensue as Grig, the scheming and selfish innkeeper, endeavors to

Overview

Young readers (and adults, too) will feel transported by the clever, intricate plotline and superb, sweeping illustrations of this second title in the Three Thieves series. The action resumes as our three goodhearted fugitives stop at a roadside inn during a ferocious thunderstorm. Narrow escapes ensue as Grig, the scheming and selfish innkeeper, endeavors to capture the trio and secure a reward from the Queen. Tensions mount further as the Queen's Dragons arrive at the tavern, hot on the trail of the fugitives and immediately suspicious of the smarmy Grig. Will Grig get his due? Will the fugitives escape? And why hasn't Grig's gentle wife spoken a word in ten years? You can bet she's got a secret.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Having escaped from hanging in Tower of Treasure (Kids Can, 2010), Dessa, Topper, and Fisk hide from the queen's guard at the Black Rock Inn, where their safety is threatened by a money-grubbing innkeeper and some smugglers. While the first volume was mostly about establishing stakes and camaraderie, this one does little to continue the main plot of Dessa trying to locate her missing twin brother and his abductor. In fact, it primarily centers around the innkeep and his nefarious activities. His story, and his relationship with his wife, provides the heart of the book, which makes it an effective stand-alone volume. The artwork is clean, with mostly muted colors, making the colorful skin, hair, and tabards of the main characters and their nemeses pop out with dramatic importance. The faces are simple, but emotive, and the detailed line work in the backgrounds and costumes helps considerably in giving the fantastic world a believable dimension. The book has gentle slapstick moments, which add to its appeal. While slightly disappointing to have the overarching plot advanced so little, the story is heartfelt and moving, and helps readers become invested in the characters.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
From the Publisher
Readers should start with the first volume to get the characters' back stories, but here's an animated, breathlessly paced adventure that's just hitting its stride.—Kirkus Reviews

Touches of zany slapstick balance nicely with Dessa's continued resolve to find her lost brother, and Chantler's inviting cartooning captures it all with special aplomb.—Booklist

The faces are simple, but emotive, and the detailed line work in the backgrounds and costumes helps considerably in giving the fantastic world a believable dimension. The book has gentle slapstick moments, which add to its appeal.—School Library Journal

VOYA - Marissa Wolf
Picking up where volume 1 left off, former traveling circus stars Dessa, Topper, and Fisk have made quite a name for themselves in the six kingdoms after attempting to steal the queen's royal treasure. Having successfully escaped from the queen and her henchman, the "Three Thieves," as they have been named, continue their quest to find Dessa's stolen twin brother and figure out the meaning behind his kidnapper's mystical book that they now possess. Taking up shelter in a local inn, they meet a strong-willed woman named Euodora who helps them escape from the queen's guards. She, too, was hurt by Greyfalcon, Dessa's brother's kidnapper, and all because she glanced at his book. With plenty of sword fighting, acrobatic getaways, suspense, and humorous dialogue, The Sign of the Black Rock will have wide appeal for boys and girls. Chantler's characters are endearing; their appearances are unique from one another and match their personalities. Black-and-white illustrations depicting the past distinguish from a brightly colored present, creating flawless transitions and adding depth to the story. The quest, characters, and atmosphere have a folktale quality, and readers will anticipate the next installment. The Three Thieves series is highly recommended for public and school libraries that have a strong graphic novel collection or are looking to build one. Reviewer: Marissa Wolf
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
When readers last left street performers/thieves Dessa, Topper, and Fisk in Tower of Treasure, the friends were fleeing from the queen's captain of the guard after a botched robbery attempt made them public enemy number one. Now, caught in a terrible storm, the three only want to find some shelter for the night. But when their search leads them to the Black Rock Inn, they find themselves taken prisoner by the corrupt innkeeper, who also happens to be housing the queen's captain and his men! Now, while the storm rages outside, Dessa and her friends must find allies and evade capture as they slip through the halls, cellars, and hidden rooms of Black Rock Inn! The second book in the "Three Thieves" graphic novel series, this entry provides an exciting self-contained story that continues the quest Dessa began in Tower of Treasure to find her missing twin brother, yet adds very little to her actual quest (although Dessa does gain an unexpected clue by the end). As a result, new readers can easily jump into this book without knowing much about the main story arc, although readers who are interested in following Dessa's main quest can probably skip ahead to Book Three without missing much. Art-wise, Chantler's illustrations continue to offer its usual dynamic blend of cartoonish figures in dramatic fanciful settings that will please fantasy fans. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
Kirkus Reviews

A heavy thunderstorm brings a motley trio of fugitive ex-circus performers, their armored pursuers and a band of smugglers together under the roof of a greedy innkeeper in this never-a-dull-moment sequel to Tower of Treasure (2010).

Complications pile on as young Dessa and her two companions—a small, irascible, bright-blue Norker and a huge, trollish Ettin—find refuge in a stable. They do so just as the owner of the adjacent inn is finishing a deal with a crew of smugglers and moments before Captain Drake and his elite troop of royal guards ride into the innyard. As in the opening episode, Chantler not only shows an ability to pack plenty of clearly defined action into his graphic panels, but also develops unusually nuanced characters through glances, gestures, subtleties of facial expression and the occasional quick flashback. In the course of a nonstop flurry of chases, captures, wild mishaps, pratfalls, acrobatic feats and narrow escapes, Dessa also picks up a cryptic clue to the whereabouts of her kidnapped twin brother and his evil captor to set up the next chapter.

Readers should start with the first volume to get the characters' back stories, but here's an animated, breathlessly paced adventure that's just hitting its stride. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554534173
Publisher:
Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Series:
Three Thieves Series, #2
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
325,067
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
GN510L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Scott Chantler is an award-winning cartoonist. He lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Scott Chantler is an award-winning cartoonist. He lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

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