Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Traitor and the Thief

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Traitor and the Thief

Article excerpt

Title: The traitor and the thief

Author: Gareth Ward (2017)

Publisher: Walker Books Australia (352 Pages)

This is a debut novel by Gareth Ward, a New Zealand author, containing an energetic mix of magic, spies, tech inventions, secret organisations and zany characters. Ward, a magician himself (The Great Wardini) along with a host of other professions, has written a steampunk novel. Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that allows its authors free ranging possibilities to invent and even rewrite history. The author borrows from Dickens (Fixer, a Fagan-like character) and heavily from J.K. Rowling. As a committed Harry Potter fan, Ward draws on its magic, school of spies and sheer inventiveness.

Set in the Victorian era, the novel opens in Coxford's Corn Market where we follow the exploits of a fourteen-year-old boy Sin, a perpetually hungry orphan, street urchin and clever petty thief who is spotted and invited to join a secret school for spies and a Covert Operations Group (COG). While Sin is street smart and inventive, he is uneducated and not at all happy following their 'Cast-Iron Rules'. Luckily he is befriended by eccentric Zonda Chubb, another COG, who possesses the skills and intelligence Sin lacks so they do well to complement one another. …

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