Black Powder by Ally Sherrick is a really fun, indulging and involving gunpowder plot adventure where a boy called Tom Garnett sets out to rescue his father from the hangman’s noose. Poverty-stricken Tom and his little pet mouse, Jago, discover they have rich relatives, and – amongst the backdrop of a Catholic-hating society – they try to persuade that family to help them stop his dad being hung.
Sneaking around one night, Tom meets a man smuggling some barrels of gunpowder and is promptly captured by him. The mysterious man is called The Falcon and I won’t be giving anything away to say this man turns out to be a certain Guy Fawkes on his way to try and blow up Parliament with his gang of fanatical Roman Catholics.
Reading partly like a incredibly fun history lesson of how Protestants and Catholics fought one another under the reign of a manipulated King, Ally Sherrick brilliantly weaves Tom’s fictional story (about his father helping a Catholic priest so therefore committing a heinous crime to be hanged for) into the 1605 gunpowder plot. Tom becomes friends with Fawkes, meets his troublesome allies and their enemies and must battle a very dangerous London to try and rescue his father as well as – potentially – try and stop Guy Fawkes blowing up the King and Parliament.
Black Powder is really snappy, descriptive feel-like-you’re-there thriller of a middle-grade book that any child who is a fan of the gunpowder plot (but wants a different take on it) will enjoy reading!
[Reviewer’s own copy – we love it that much!]