Hammer of Witches

Hammer of Witches

Book - 2013
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"Fourteen-year-old bookmaker's apprentice Baltasar, pursued by a secret witch-hunting arm of the Inquisition, escapes by joining Columbus's expedition and discovers magical secrets about his own past that his family had tried to keep hidden"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781600609879
1600609872
Characteristics: 391 pages ; 22 cm

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CheriePie
Aug 21, 2014

see my full review at http://books.cheriepie.com/2014/08/review-hammer-of-witches-by-shana.html

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KristiBernard
Oct 26, 2013

Baltasar Infante worked with his uncle, a bookmaker, in his shop and at night listened to his many stories of mystical and magical creatures. Often times, he would dream of yellow eyes watching him through his window. He would put those stories aside, unable to determine if they were real and continued to worship his favorite hero, Amir al-Katib, the moorish hero of Spain, that is until he learned that he was a traitor.

One rainy night Baltasar was captured and taken by the Malleus Maleficanum, a renegade off shoot of the Spanish Inquisition founded in Germany, a priest questioned him about Amire al-Katib. In an attempt to find Amire, the priest would try to torture Baltasar, that is until he conjured a Golem, a clay creature, to save him. Once home, Baltasar's uncle told him who he really was, the family history and that he was the son of Amir al-Katib. Most importantly, Baltasar was a witch or sorcerer. His father had been fighting to save Europe but now all of Europe was looking for him and they mean to kill him. When the King's men showed up at Baltasar's home, his uncle pleaded with him to escape. In flight, Baltasar watched his family die and his home destroyed. His sole purpose was to find his father, but first he must save himself.

With no where else to go, Baltasar remembered the tavern where a sailor was talking about setting sail. That was his chance to escape, in the mean time he paid for a room and would wait for his chance to board. Tucked away in an attic room, Baltasar recounted the night and remembered his uncle had given him a necklace that belonged to his father. It was supposed to protect him. He opened the locket and released an Ifritah, or fire genie, and friend of Amir. Together they would set out on a journey to find Amire. Along the way Baltasar would learn the power within himself as he is conquered by independence and manhood.

Young readers will enjoy the mysticism of this tale. Mlawski offers male and female heroes readers can sink their teeth into. Although the story references Christopher Columbus and the Spanish Inquisition the author makes it clear in the back of the book that her story is completely fictional and also states the history around the 1400's when the story takes place. The back of the book also is host to a glossary which helps readers understand the mystical creatures and the correct pronunciation for these characters.

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