Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
From the bestselling author of The Blackthorn Key series comes a thrilling Ocean's Eleven-like heist story for young readers, now in trade paperback format. Five kids with unusual talents are brought together to commit an impossible crime. Failure is unacceptable . . . but success could be deadly.
A magic-infused fantasy that brings together a ragtag group of kids to pull off a crime so difficult, countless adults have already tried and failed. Lured by the promise of more money than they've ever dreamed of, five young criminals are hired to steal a heavily guarded treasure from the most powerful sorcerer in the city. There's Callan the con artist, Meribel the expert at acrobatics (and knives!), Gareth the researcher, Lachlan who can obtain anything, and Foxtail, whose mysterious eyeless mask doesn't hinder her ability to climb walls like a spider. Though their shadowy backgrounds mean that they've never trusted anyone but themselves, the five must learn to rely on each other in order to get the job done.
But as Callan has been warned most of his life, it's best to stay away from magic. It can turn on you at any moment, and make you think you're the one running the con game, when in reality you're the one being fooled. Faced with these unsurmountable odds, can the new friends pull off this legendary heist, or has their luck finally run out?
About the author
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. The Blackthorn Key is his first novel.
- Nominated, Red Maple Award
- Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award
- Nominated, Red Cedar Book Award
- Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards
- Short-listed, National Chapter IODE Violet Downey Award
- Nominated, Diamond Willow Award
An NPR Best Book of 2021
An OLA Best Bet
A Summer Reading List Selection, OLA Kid Committee
Shortlisted for the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award
Shortlisted for the IODE Violet Downey Book Award
Shortlisted for the Diamond Willow Award
Shortlisted for the Rocky Mountain Book Award
"In a sharp-witted series opener, Sands (the Blackthorn Key series) crafts an adventure with mythological undertones and a heist framework." —STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly
"A page-turner filled with charming rogues and expert plots." —Kirkus Reviews
Other titles by Kevin Sands
The Blackthorn Key Complete Collection (Boxed Set)
The Blackthorn Key; Mark of the Plague; The Assassin's Curse; Call of the Wraith; The Traitor's Blade; The Raven's Revenge
The Raven's Revenge
Seekers of the Fox
Thieves of Shadow, Book Two
The Traitor's Blade
The Blackthorn Key Cryptic Collection Books 1-4
The Blackthorn Key; Mark of the Plague; The Assassin's Curse; Call of the Wraith
Call of the Wraith
The Assassin's Curse
Mark of the Plague
The Blackthorn Key
Find Your Hero Chapter Sampler
Excerpts from six of our stellar 2015 hero-themed middle-grade titles!