The Cabinet of Curiosities by Paul Dowsell
Published by Bloomsbury
Source: review copy (Thank you bloomsbury)
I wasn't sure if this book would be my kind of thing but it totally was and not for the reasons I would have expected.
This book follows the story of Lukas an orphaned boy who has moved to Prague to apprentice with his Uncle, the Emperor's physician. To start with I have to admit I was not gripped by the story. It starts following him as he makes his way to visit his uncle and I started to lose interest.
Once he met his Uncle however I was hooked. I teach the history of Medicine and I have never read a YA book which looks at medical practices from the past. I loved seeing how Lukas's Uncle used the medicine of the day to treat the Emperor. It really brought home the fact that despite the great discoveries and break throughs in medicine that were going on during the Renaissance, not a lot actually changed day to day in the practice of medicine. People were still treated using high superstitious and flawed methods dating back to Ancient times. This is the main reason why I will be recommending this book in the future to people as I found this side of it fascinating.
Once I got this far into the book I started to find it a lot more engaging and the pace of it picked up. By the end of it, it began unputdownable and I had to know how tings were going to turn out and it started to throw up all kinds of twists and turns.
All in all definitely one to stick with. A nice little book with a nice sense of historical period and an engaging storyline.