Penelope ‘Pen’ Tudor is an unusually practical, forward-planning thirteen year old girl. She is determined to become a lawyer when she grows up, and is positively thrilled at the idea of being the executor for Andrew Pyewackett’s will and caretaker of the house until the custodian can be found, having inconveniently and mysteriously disappeared over a year ago.
Going against Mr Pyewackett’s express orders not to enter the house, she starts to realise all is not as it seems when she finds a velociraptor in the broom closet. It’s not long before she and her friends Gavin and Jinx – an aspiring chef and a teenage witch – find themselves getting far more up close and personal with history than any of them ever thought possible.
But what interest could the house possible hold for the Devil himself?
For me, this book is the very definition of a page-turner, the kind of book that will keep you hooked until the very last page and leaves you desperately wanting more. Writing detailed, realistic and gripping books is difficult in any genre. But when it’s seventeenth century London you need the reader to embrace – and when you need to write decent time travel transition scenes to boot – the fact that this book is so gripping, so detailed and just so brilliant is even more impressive.
Sometimes when a story flits between two settings and two sets of characters, there is usually one that comes out on top as being just that bit more interesting. I think one of the things that makes this such a good read is that (possibly for the first time ever) I genuinely couldn’t pick between the two. Yes, I wanted to know what Ghost was going to do next but no way was I skipping ahead when the next bit resolves Pen’s last cliff-hanger!
The characters are well-developed individuals who get you firmly in their corner (or, in some cases, firmly in their opponent’s), and while you can figure out what links the past and the present before the solution appears to the characters there’s enough action in the ‘present’ and hints at future twists and turns to keep even the most demanding of readers entertained. The only reason I haven’t given The Devil’s Apprentice 5/5 is because the stories to come promise to be even better, and I have no doubt they will exceed even my (now very high!) expectations.