Donato and the Cartege Blade by Fiona Jordan
Set in medieval times, teenager Donato has been raised in a monastery, helping out in the kitchen and trying to keep away from the abbot, Brother Benito, who seems to be intent on making his life a misery. He dreams of a life away from the monastery, a life of living in castles and having adventures. But his life is nothing like that; it is one of hard work and routine, the only bright moments spent with his protector Brother Francesco.
But one day Donato travels with the other monks into the city centre to celebrate the Spring Festival, and Donato gets separated from the monks. Donato finds himself inside the castle walls, and his fascination with the place draws him even further inside. But he isn’t alone. He overhears a conversation, and he learns the king is in danger of being poisoned. Donato is forced to act, but this decision changes his life forever and sets him on a completely new path. It’s not long before the teenager is learning what it is like living outside the monastery, as well as practising skills to defend himself. Further on in the book Donato discovers the truth about his family background, which is completely different from what he has always believed. And with the truth comes a destiny he never could have imagined.
Donato and the Cartege Blade is a first-rate read for young adults (and older readers). It’s extremely well-written, with great characterisation and a pacey, page-turning plot. I was hooked by the story very quickly and thoroughly enjoyed how the story developed. It’s certainly left me eager to read the next instalment by this talented author.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Mary Egan Publishing, RRP $25.00