The Cabinet of Curiosities
Written by Paul Dowswell
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The Lovereading4Kids comment
A powerful historical drama full of political intrigue and rich in the trickery of alchemy, this is a fascinating and original story about one boy’s role in saving a great kingdom. Orphaned Lukas is summoned to Prague by his uncle, court physician to the great emperor, and keeper of the Cabinet of Curiosities, a vast collection of strange objects all of which have been gifts to the Emperor. Lukas is fascinated by the curiosities too and, as a result, soon finds himself drawn into the machinations of the Spanish envoy. Lukas needs to keep his wits about to save his life.
The Cabinet of Curiosities by Paul Dowswell
When Lukas Declercq is orphaned, his uncle summons him to Prague, a refuge for Europe's greatest alchemists and natural philosophers, offering to take him on as an apprentice. Uncle Anselmus is court physician to Rudolph II, the reclusive and unstable Emperor. He is also curator of Rudolph's bizarre Cabinet of Curiosities, a series of vast rooms stuffed with wonders and scientific marvels such as a nail from Noah's Ark, phoenix feathers and monstrous freaks of nature, which fascinate Lukas. As Rudolph retreats further into his fantasy world, the threat of rebellion hangs in the air. Dorantes, a diplomat from Spain, comes with his daughter, Celestina, on a mission from Philip II to persuade Rudolph to give up his heretical ways. But he discovers the court is full of diplomats who have been waiting months or years for an audience with the Emperor. Dorantes notices how some had wormed their way into the Emperor's favour by presenting him with fantastic gifts for his Cabinet, and sets about creating a device that he says will stop time. But it works only in the presence of the Emperor. Lukas knows the terrible truth behind Dorantes' mission. But sinister forces have plans for Lukas too, and before he can thwart the plot against the Emperor, Lukas must gamble on Celestina's loyalty in order to save his own life.
Click here to visit our author page for Paul Dowswell, where you can read about his inspiration behind The Cabinet of Curiosities.
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'Dowswell is one of the best new writers of historical fiction for children ... [Auslander] steps outside the victim culture of novels such as those by Morris Gleitzman and comes close to classics such as The Silver Sword. Admirers of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas should look at this novel as a model of imaginative sympathy'
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The Financial Times
About the Author
Interest Age: From 9
More books by Paul Dowswell
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
7th February 2011
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