Friday, 14 October 2011

The Last Seal Review

The Last Seal
-       Richard Denning
Publisher: Mercia Books
A powerful demon has been trapped under the city of London for over 300 years. Now, however, malevolent forces are at work in the 17th century, planning to unleash terror and chaos on the world. Two rival secret societies the Liberati and the Praesidum - are caught in a battle that threatens to destroy the city and its unknowing inhabitants. When a truant schoolboy, Ben, finds a scroll revealing the location of magical seals that bind the demon, this throws him into the centre of a dangerous plot that leads to the Great Fire of London. Ben must overcome his own problems - fear of failure, desire for revenge, guilt over his parents deaths - if he is to protect the city, and confront the evil demon. As the plot unfolds, a little more of the mystery about Ben s own past and his parents deaths is made known. Ultimately, Ben and his friends must combat sorcery, defeat the evil Liberati and destroy the demon if they are to save their city and themselves.
I must confess to being a bit of a history buff – I studied it for A-Levels and since then have had a bit of a fascination for certain periods. One period I’ve always been interested in is Stuart period which covers the Plague and the Great Fire of London – which is one reason why I was so excited to win a copy of The Last Seal from Karen at The Slowest Bookworm. This story covers the days of the great fire – from an alternative view. A power hungry sect is driven to try and free a demon trapped in London by a selection of seals around the city.
I was immediately drawn into this fascinating world where a truant and thief end up embroiled in an adventure to save the city. The background story and emotional journey is quite complex, but well explained and never confusing. I’m fairly sure the language and some of the characters actions are not historical accurate and far too modern, but it is thoroughly entertaining and when I was flying through the pages I didn’t mind!
There is a wide range of characters with the lead, schoolboy Ben, having a disturbing past that influences his decisions, but Freya was my favourite by far – an entirely practical thief who is constantly eating, but loves her city. The other characters range from selfish to mad to altruistic and all are given motivations for their actions. Richard Denning has obvious studied the fire and it’s progress, managing to weave historical events into an exciting adventure. My one disappointment – with six seals before the final one, the good guys seemed to let them be destroyed easily after the first two. But that minor niggle aside, I had a good time and would recommend this to anyone who likes some historical fantasy for pre-teens!
Recommended for fans of Kristin Cashore and Isobelle Carmody. 7.5 out of 10


  1. While I find the 17th century the least interesting ;) I just do not know why I diss it so much

  2. YaY! Good research! I also love a book based on a historical period you are drawn. Hm... did you unleash that demon in a past life? ;)

  3. Yes! I've been fascinated by the Great Fire of London too. When I visited London, I went to eat that the oldest pub in London that survived the fire though it was in the middle of it.

  4. This is not usually my kind of thing but you make it sound so interesting. I am teaching the Tudors at the moment and my class are desperate to find out about the Stuarts as I gave them some hints about the Gunpowder Plot :P