Title: Black ArtsSeries: Black Arts #1Author: Andrew Prentice and Jonathan WeilPublisher: David Fickling BooksPublication Date: 29 Mar 2012Synopsis from AmazonElizabethan London: a teeming city of traders and thieves, courtiers and preachers, riff-raff and quality, cut-throats - and demons. When scrunty Jack the 'Judicious Nipper' picks the wrong pocket at the Globe Theatre, he finds himself mixed up in an altogether more dangerous London than he could have imagined - a city in which magic is real and deadly.
An outbreak of devil-worship has led to a wave of anti-witch fervor whipped up by the Elect, a mysterious group of Puritans recognizable from their red-stained right hands, led by the charismatic Nicholas Webb, a growing power at Court. Rumour has it that he wants to purge the city entirely and build a New Jerusalem. Jack has his own reason for hating him: he saw him kill his mother.
Helped by Beth Sharkwell the Thief Princess of Lambeth, Kit Morely the Intelligencer and Dr Dee the Queen's Wizard, Jack pits himself against Webb's Puritans. But this is no straightforward struggle. Things are not as they seem. In fact, ever since his encounter with Webb, there has been something wrong with Jack's vision. He keeps seeing things. Demons.
Black Arts is the first in a series of thrilling time-travel adventures, each bringing the past to glorious life, as Jack and his companions hurtle from one epic struggle to the next.
Jack (Nipper as he is known) is a thief, when he cuts the wrong purse he ends up in a completely different London to the one he is used to. As well as travelling through time he gains the ability to see demons/devils, this is where his search for Preacher Webb begins. Preacher Webb is also the man that killed Jack's mother. Jack is hindered in his search by his ties to his Master, Sharkwell, whose rules must be obeyed or else.
My favorite part of this book happens near the end, I'm not giving away any spoilers. I will say that it was thrilling and interesting in equal measure. I just couldn't put it down, absolutely thrilling. Jack is my favorite character, he is sneaky and sly but he needs to be in order to survive. His cleverness shines through the story.
I have to say that I didn't like how the Intelligencer and The Doctor kept Jack trapped as I think Jack would have been able to discover things necessary to help him in later situations if he hadn't been trapped. I would have really liked to have seen Beth and Jack's relationship develop further and to have seen exactly how Kit escaped captivity.
I am really looking forward to more in this series and would highly recommend it.