By Allan Stratton
HarperCollins, $16.99, 278 pages
Young Hans digs up dead people for a living. Orphaned as a baby, he is adopted by Knobbe the grave robber and learns the tricks of the trade. Hans doesn’t know where he came from or who he really is. He hates what he must do to survive as a peasant, but where else can he turn? Twelve-year-old Countess Angela lives in a splendid castle. Except for her marionettes and a childhood nurse, she is left alone by her parents and is expected to grow up and marry a strange prince and live in his splendid castle. Both children long to be free.
“One day, I shall know who I am. From that day forth, I shall live in the light, breathe clean air, and never again have to crawl with the dead things.”
When Angela is kidnapped by the evil Archduke Arnulf, only Hans can save her. Readers join Hans and Angela on a daring quest of rescue and redemption. Can the duo discover Hans’ true identity and save Angela from the Archduke? Both girls and boys will be drawn to the strong hero and heroine in Allan Stratton’s The Grave Robber’s Apprentice. Each chapter begins with a fascinating drawing of events to come. Stratton has a way with words, and adults will find themselves immersed in the story as well.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin