The Seer of Shadows
Cover Artist: Mark Tucker
Review by Gayle Surrette
HarperCollins Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780060000158
Date: 01 April 2008 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /
New York City in 1872 was teaming with opportunities for people willing to work hard. At 14, Horace Carpetine was willing to work hard. He had a scientific turn of mind and his father managed to find him an apprenticeship with Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer. At that time, photography was in its infancy and was considered to be a meld of science and magic, as chemically treated plates captured images. Horace applied himself and since Enoch loved to explain and didn't care too much for the work, Horace learned his trade rather rapidly. Everything was looking rosy for Horace until Enoch was hired to take a photograph of Mrs. Von Macht to place in her daughter's tomb. Enoch saw this as an opportunity to cash in on the craze for séances and communication with the dead, to work a likeness of Mrs. Von Macht daughter into the photo. Missing a critical piece of information about the Von Macht's daughter, he didn't realize just how dangerous such a venture could be? From official release/information:
Book Description: Newbery Medalist Avi weaves one of his most suspenseful and scary tales—about a ghost who has to be seen to be believed and must be kept from carrying out a horrifying revenge.
The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.
Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora.
Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost. Eleanora returns, a vengeful wraith intent on punishing those who abused her.
Rich in detail, full of the magic of early photography, here is a story about the shadows, visible and invisible, that are always lurking near. (YA)