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The Printer's Devil    by Paul Bajoria order for
Printer's Devil
by Paul Bajoria
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Orphaned twelve-year-old Mog Winter earns his keep as a printer's devil in old London. When not busy printing WANTED posters or playbills for Mr. Cramplock, Mog roams the streets with his beloved dog Lash. Of his work, he tells us, 'It felt as though things happened because of what I did.'

One day, an errand drops Mog into a mystery with links to his past. There are menacing strangers (including one whose face appeared on a WANTED poster; a ship called Sun of Calcutta, whose bosun's son looks awfully familiar; threatening notes; a deadly snake; a mysterious stolen camel; and murder. Mog dreams repeatedly of his mother, who seems to be urging him to investigate, despite the risks. There's capture and escape, and the discovery of a huge, curved scimitar with markings similar to those on his mother's silver bangle. Soon, Mog meets the bosun's abused son Nick. They roam the streets together, uncovering dangerous secrets, including one that Mog has kept for years.

The story has a feel of Dickensian times, mixed with a strong flavor of Kipling's Kim, dollops of mystery, and a faint touch of magic. Since this first book doesn't answer many of the questions it raises about Mog's past, it seems likely there will be more adventures of the young printer's devil to enjoy.

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