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About Gary Blackwood
Gary L. Blackwood sold his first story when he was nineteen, and has been writing and publishing short stories, articles, plays, novels, and nonfiction books regularly ever since. His stage plays have won awards and been produced in university and regional theatre. Nonfiction subjects he's covered include biography, history, and paranormal phenomena. His juvenile novels, which include WILD TIMOTHY, THE YEAR OF THE HANGMAN, the SHAKESPEARE STEALER series, and CURIOSITY, are set in a wide range of times and places, from Elizabethan England to a dystopian future to a parallel universe. After decades of writing mainly for young readers, he recently crossed over into adult fiction with a Victorian mystery, BUCKET'S LIST. Many of his books have appeared on Best Books lists and several have been translated into such languages as Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and Faeroese. He grew up in Western Pennsylvania and lived in four other states in the U.S. before moving to the beautiful North Shore of Nova Scotia.
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Widge is an orphan with a rare talent for shorthand. His fearsome master has just one demand: steal Shakespeare's play "Hamlet"--or else. Widge has no choice but to follow orders, so he works his way into the heart of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare's players perform. As full of twists and turns as a London alleyway, this entertaining novel is rich in period details, colorful characters, villainy, and drama.
* "A fast-moving historical novel that introduces an important era with casual familiarity." --School Library Journal, starred review
"Readers will find much to like in Widge, and plenty to enjoy in this gleeful romp through olde England" --Kirkus Reviews
"Excels in the lively depictions of Elizabethan stagecraft and street life." --Publishers Weekly
An ALA Notable Book
"An exciting, well-written tale that is sure to leave [readers] clamoring for more." (School Library Journal, starred review)
"A thrilling, thoroughly road-worthy joy ride." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Fun and suspenseful." - Booklist
Readers swept up in the first two adventures about Widge and Shakespeare's players will be enthralled yet again by this third tale with its dramatic twists and turns and an ending worthy of the Bard himself.
Philadelphia, PA, 1835. Rufus, a twelve-year-old chess prodigy, is recruited by a shady showman named Maelzel to secretly operate a mechanical chess player called the Turk. The Turk wows ticket-paying audience members and players, who do not realize that Rufus, the true chess master, is hidden inside the contraption. But Rufus’s job working the automaton must be kept secret, and he fears he may never be able to escape his unscrupulous master. And what has happened to the previous operators of the Turk, who seem to disappear as soon as Maelzel no longer needs them? Creeping suspense, plenty of mystery, and cameos from Edgar Allan Poe and P. T. Barnum mark Gary Blackwood’s triumphant return to middle grade fiction.
This fascinating look at history?s most mysterious messages is packed with puzzles to decode and ciphers that kids can use themselves. Here are the encrypted notes of Spartan warriors, the brilliant code-crackers of Elizabeth I, secret messages of the American Revolution, spy books of the Civil War, the famous Enigma Machine, and the Navajo code talkers. As computers change the way we communicate, codes today are more intriguing than ever.
From invisible ink to the CIA, this exciting trip through history is a hands-on, interactive experience? so get cracking!