Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.
Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.
Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?
When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.
Paradise Lost. Mysterious Codes. Adventure
Traitor Angels is a heady mix of historic details, atmosphere, and intrigue. Set in seventeenth-century England, during the reign of King Charles II, Blankman easily weaves in historical figures, you'll see page time from John Milton, Galileo, and King Charles II as well as visit a Physic's Garden in an abandoned Oxford cemetery, dance at a ball hosted by the Duke's of Buckingham, and go on a scavenger hunt across England's countryside as the protagonist Elizabeth deciphers the secret clues left in her father's work Paradise Lost. I had great fun trespassing around myself with a thoughtful pace to absorb it all.
Elizabeth - A Fierce and Intelligent Heroine
Elizabeth is a fierce and intelligent heroine with an upbringing that defies the norm for young ladies brought up in England during the 17th century - one perfect for the adventurous quest she is about to begin. Educated, trained in sword fighting, and having scholarly and intimate knowledge of her father's work Paradise Lost, she senses that she is being prepared for something epic and unimaginable. Anne Blankman gives readers a strong heroine, one that dares to fight in order to protect her family. Sheltered and naive to the outside world beyond her father and family life, she shows tremendous bravery and faith - even when challenged. I think what readers are going to enjoy most about Elizabeth is her brilliance when comes to breaking down and deciphering the clues her father hid among his writings in Paradise Lost.
Faith, Historical Details, And Intrigue Mix For A Scrumptious Read
Traitor Angels expertly weaves together historical elements with creative intrigue. This is my first read by Blackman and I really enjoyed how well she kept me guessing as to what was behind the clues in Paradise Lost. It all felt very Da Vinci Code-esque tapping into a turbulent time when religion and science often conflicted in views. Elizabeth is instrumental in presenting views from both perspectives and I admired her determination to keep her faith while opening her eyes to the possibilities of unexplored scientific thought. I do feel like the actual scavenger hunt was more exciting that the actual reveal, but the thrill was all there in the search and adventure.
Yes! There is Swoon
There's some wonderful romantic build-up between Elizabeth and Antonio Vivani, the darkly handsome Italian scientist, who joins her on the quest. Smart, humorous, and passionate about science, Antonio complimented Elizabeth's character, as he introduces her to the fascinating world beyond her sheltered one. The romance was sweet and romantic, never overtaking the wonderful historical elements.
In the End
Traitor Angels is a great choice for fans of YA historical reads. Code breaking and adventuress scavenger hunting make for an imaginative and captivating read. Authentic details and historical figures round out this exciting story. Though this is my first read with Anne Blankman, it definitely will not be my last.