Mark of the Plague

Mark of the Plague

(Book #2 of Blackthorn Key)
For Ages: 10 - 14
  • 1
Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown apothecary arrives with a cure that actually works. Christopher’s Blackthorn shop is chosen to prepare the remedy. But when an assassin threatens the apothecary’s life, Christopher and his faithful friend Tom are back to hunting down the truth, risking their lives to untangle the heart of a dark conspiracy.

And as the sickness strikes close to home, the stakes are higher than ever before…
  • Aladdin | 
  • 560 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481446754 | 
  • May 2017 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9
List Price $7.99
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

Blackthorn Key, Book Two: Mark of the Plague

By Kevin Sands

About the Book

It’s 1665 and the plague has already killed 30,000 people in London, where Christopher Rowe lives on his own. Luckily, he has a loyal friend in Tom, a baker’s son. But when a mysterious prophet predicts that Tom will die, Christopher investigates whether the prophet is genuine and then whether a new apothecary, who claims to have a cure, can be believed. Christopher, Tom, and their new ally, Sally, uncover a conspiracy that could take down the whole city unless the three of them act fast—at the risk of their lives.

A great blend of history, intrigue, and daring exploits, Mark of the Plague is the follow-up to the critically esteemed The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

Discussion Questions

1. “The sickness makes us all the same,” Isaac says to Christopher. What does he mean? How is that idea shown in the book?

2. Christopher’s apothecary skills include chemical and medical knowledge. Give examples of how he uses each of those skills in the novel. Why can’t he run his own apothecary shop?

3. When Melchior predicts that someone Christopher loves will die, Christopher worries that it will be Tom. Describe their friendship. Compare and see more

More Books from this Author

The Assassin's Curse
The Blackthorn Key
Find Your Hero Chapter Sampler

About the Author

Kevin Sands
Photograph © Thomas Zitnansky

Kevin Sands

Since escaping from university with a pair of degrees in theoretical physics, Kevin Sands has worked as a researcher, a business consultant, and a teacher. He lives in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of the award-winning and bestselling Blackthorn Key series.

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