The Master's Book Tour Schedule
Title: The Master's Book
Author: Philip Coleman
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Acquired Via: CBB Book Promotions
Release Date: March 15, 2013
Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene...
In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 25. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.
Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?
Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.
Some of my favorite novels have been thrillers that revolve around history or historical artifacts, namely Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose. I haven't had a lot of luck with them in the YA sector, but thankfully The Master's Book turned that around for me, though the forefront of the novel seemed to be more about Séan's adjustment to life in Brussels than the mystery of the book.
I think Séan is a character that a lot of young readers will identify with, as well as the adult fans of juvenile fiction will appreciate. He has just moved from Ireland and all of his friends to Belgium because of his father's work. The way Séan responds to this change and his interactions with his peers because of it makes him very realistic. He allows Stephanie, his new friend in Belgium, get him into a little bit more trouble than he would have normally, but we all know how peer pressure can be.
As for the history in The Master's Book, it was quite interesting. I've never read any fiction based on Mary of Burgundy, so I found it necessary to go on a Wikipedia scavenger hunt while I was reading the book. (I read about Mary, then her children, then her children's spouses, and so on.) There is little that I love more than a book that inspires me to do more research. It also led me to discover a historical character that I would love to read some fiction about (Joanna the Mad), but I digress.
The mystery in The Master's Book didn't really pick up until well into the book (probably three-quarters of the way in), with a brief feature in the beginning. The majority of the novel consisted of setting the stage for Séan's development and adjustment to his new life. I don't want to give too much away, but a lot of it consists of a secret room, a mysterious murder victim, and a troublesome book.
I think my favorite part of The Master's Book was the dialect and vocabulary used in the novel. There were a lot of European words and phrases used throughout the story, and it made me a little giddy. (Yes, I love me some Europe.) However, I think it may throw readers off if they're not used to terms like "having a lie-in" and the set up of the European school systems. It's a minor thing that made me a happy nerd, and I don't think it's enough to cause any less pleasure for readers.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Master's Book, and it definitely made me hungry for more thrillers aimed at a young audience.
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About the Author
Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher or author through CBB Book Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.