The Poison Boy

Publisher: Chicken House

Review

Dalton Fly is a poison boy, one of the last remaining of Oscar's Honest Dozen. His job is to taste the food and drink of Highlions' rich and powerful citizens, to identify any traces of poison that may have been planted by their enemies. It's a dangerous job but luckily Dalton has developed a refined palette that allows him to identify traces of poison from even the faintest scent of flavour, and has built up his resistance to poisonous substances. A side effect is that his memory doesn't always work very well, but luckily Sal Sleepwell the mapmaker's son is on hand to help him remember.

When a job goes badly wrong, Dalton finds himself plunged into sudden danger. Joining forces with an unlikely ally in the shape of Scarlet Dropmore, a wealthy young girl from one of the city's most powerful families, he embarks on an adventure which leads him to tangle with the city's complex and unstable politics and warring factions - and ultimately to discover some surprising information about his own past.

Readers will be gripped from the opening pages of this richly-imagined story from winner of the Times/Chicken House Fiction Competition Fletcher Moss. Action and suspense are balanced by well-drawn characters and convincing relationships, and Moss's shadowy city of political intrigue is a particularly appealing fantasy world. This unusual adventure story will leave readers eager to read more from Moss.

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