by by Timothee de Fombelle and Sarah Ardizzone
School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-A thrilling historical adventure set in the mid-1930s, this novel opens with a dramatic scene in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris where 19-year-old Vango is about to become a priest. Just before he is ordained, he is falsely accused of a murder. After scaling the Cathedral, the teen's exploits unfold across rooftops, on land and sea, and even by the Graf Zeppelin airship. Vango's journey takes him from the Sicilian Islands, where he was raised by a nanny under mysterious circumstances, to Germany where Nazi power is on the rise. He remains just one step ahead of a determined-and somewhat comedic-police superintendent and several other characters whose obsession with capturing Vango leads to more questions than answers. Among the historical figures who make appearances are Hugo Eckener, commander of the Graf Zeppelin, Stalin, and the composer Sergei Prokofiev. Just as memorable are minor characters such as Giuseppina Trossi, a woman who lives on the isolated island where Vango was born and supplies important information about his past; a beautiful Scottish heiress, a priest who lives in an "invisible monastery," and a girl called "The Cat" who, like Vango, is comfortable spending the nights on Paris rooftops. With numerous characters and a winding and often complicated story, this breathtaking tale is guaranteed to keep teens on the edge of their seats, and will appeal to confident readers who enjoy intricately plotted tales.-Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list *Starred Review* Moments before his ordination as a priest, in the shadow of Paris' Notre Dame, Vango, a 19-year-old boy who is falsely accused of murder, must flee the police. So begins a glorious adventure story that will take Vango and his pursuers not only the police but also dark forces from Joseph Stalin's Russia across Europe by foot, train, and even the celebrated airship Graf Zeppelin. Why the Russians are after him is a mystery, but, then, Vango's whole life is a mystery. Washed ashore on a tiny island with his nurse when he was only two or three, the boy doesn't know who his parents were, where he came from, or why he is being pursued. But the devil himself seems to be after him. One hairbreadth escape after another marks his uneasy progress. A mysterious young woman named the Cat, a sequestered monastery, a Scottish heiress, a notorious arms dealer, and a French police superintendent all become inextricably entwined in Vango's life. French author de Fombelle has written a brilliant, wonderfully exciting story of flight and pursuit, filled with colorful characters and head-scratching mystery. As the novel proceeds, the suspense is ratcheted up to breathtaking levels as the boy remains only one step ahead of his relentless pursuers. This reminds even the most jaded readers of the abiding pleasures of a compelling, page-turning story. The only drawback: a frustratingly inconclusive ending that demands a sequel. Readers can only hope one will be forthcoming.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2014 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.