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The Traitors' Gate (2007)

de Avi

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2151295,464 (3.37)3
When his father is arrested as a debtor in 1849 London, fourteen-year-old John Huffman must take on unexpected responsibilities, from asking a distant relative for help to determining why people are spying on him and his family.
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    The Escape From Home de Avi (Usuari anònim)
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Young John Huffam's family has fallen on hard times. His father owes
300 pounds and is thrown into debtor's prison. John wants to help his Pa but isn't sure how. He's being followed by interesting characters: a man claiming to be Inspector Copperfield, and Sari, a homeless girl who works as a "sneak" for hire. He also hopes that his great-aunt will help the family financially. But it turns out there is a greater mystery; several people are interested in what his father has invented, a technique to make rifles fire greater distances, and those people are willing to commit treason for it. John needs to figure out who's after the plans and how to keep them from it.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I liked this one, although I'm becoming convinced that I'm too old to really enjoy many children's books anymore. Great homage to Dickens. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
When his father is arrested as a debtor in 1849 London, fourteen-year-old John Huffman must take on unexpected responsibilities, from asking a distant relative for help to determining why people are spying on him and his family.
  lkmuir | Dec 7, 2015 |
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

THE TRAITORS' GATE is everything you'd expect from an Avi novel--a well-realized historical adventure, plenty of suspense, and lots of surprises along the way. Whether you're intrigued by Victorian England, you like a good mystery, or you're just looking for a book that will keep you guessing right until the final chapter, you'll find something to enjoy here.

It is the mystery of THE TRAITORS' GATE that will keep readers turning the pages. If 14-year-old John Huffam wants to save his family from destitution, he must find a scheming traitor, who engineered his father's arrest in order to force Mr. Huffam to sell the military secrets he has memorized. Unfortunately for John, he has more suspects than he can count, and every piece of information he learns raises as many questions as answers. Even with the help of a Scotland Yard inspector and a scruffy street girl who knows all the secrets of London, the task seems close to impossible. Yet John pushes on, through multiple twists and turns, to an ending that is satisfying yet unpredictable.

Underneath the mystery, however, there is a lot more to the story. At heart, it is a tale of lost innocence and growing up. John must come to terms with the fact that many of the adults in his life, including his father, are deeply flawed. It is up to him to choose: allow himself to sink to the levels of his role models, or do his best to hold himself above them and be the best person he can be, despite his circumstances. He must also decide who to turn away from, and, more importantly, who to forgive. For nothing in THE TRAITORS' GATE is completely black and white. Every character has virtues as well as vices, and most are simply doing what they think is best for them, with believable (if not always sympathetic) motives. This depth with stick with readers long after they've discovered the answer to the mystery.

Making the story even more engaging is the vivid depiction of Victorian London. Descriptions are full of detail and life. Readers will feel as though they've taken a trip there rather than just reading about it. Avi reveals the full range of London experiences, from the lush homes of the rich to the squalid rooms of the very poor, and everything in between. Though some of the laws and customs of this period will be unfamiliar to readers, explanations are easily worked into the story as John learns things about his society even he didn't realize.

If you have a chance to pick this one up, don't hesitate. THE TRAITORS' GATE will stir the mind and the heart equally, and entertain readers along the way. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
Avi spins a great tale of the injustices of 19th century English life for debtors. I've followed his work for over 20 years and am amazed how he has grown as a writer. This book will be featured in paperback by Scholastic in Fall 2009. I'm not sure if it will appeal to YAs, but it certainly will appeal to media specialists. ( )
  foxt | May 7, 2009 |
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When his father is arrested as a debtor in 1849 London, fourteen-year-old John Huffman must take on unexpected responsibilities, from asking a distant relative for help to determining why people are spying on him and his family.

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