The Poisons of Caux
The Hollow Bettle (Book I)
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
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Introducing a witty and macabre new fantasy trilogy.
There's little joy left in the kingdom of Caux: the evil King Nightshade rules with terrible tyranny and the law of the land is poison or be poisoned. Worse, eleven-year-old Ivy’s uncle, a famous healer, has disappeared, and Ivy sets out to find him, joined by a young taster named Rowan. But these are corrupt times, and the children—enemies of the realm—are not alone. What exactly do Ivy and Rowan’s pursuers want? Is it Ivy’s prized red bettle, which, unlike any other gemstone in Caux, appears—impossibly—to be hollow? Is it the elixir she concocted—the one with the mysterious healing powers? Or could it be Ivy herself?
Told with wry humor, The Hollow Bettle is the first installment in the Poisons of Caux trilogy, an astonishing tale of herbs and magic, tasters and poisoners.
Susannah Appelbaum lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and their two young children. This is her first novel.
Review, Publishers Weekly, August 17, 2009
“Bewitching. . . . Debut author Appelbaum’s stylish, atmospheric prose is well matched by Taylor’s warm interior illustrations. . . . Caux is an enchanting, unusual setting that echoes the complexity of its heroes and villains alike. ‘High above the tallest trees, you can feel the land’s misfortune,’ Appelbaum writes. ‘You might feel it even pulling you in."
Review, Booklist, June 1, 2009
“A deeply satisfying, humor-laced quest with elements of wizardry and herbology, deeds of a dastardly nature, and ultimately, redemption. Similar in tone but not as darkly Dickensian as Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, this adventure pulses with imaginatively named characters, gratifying close calls, and a landscape that is vividly alive. Readers, individually or as part of a read-aloud experience, will savor young Ivy’s expedition and eagerly await more adventures in the land of Caux.”
Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, November 2009
“A true epic quest. . . . The carefully described morbid, darkly elegant setting and a well-developed cast of intriguing and subtle characters add depth and balance to the quick pace and sarcastic tone of the book. The resulting novel is at once rollicking adventure and thoughtful fantasy.”
“Appelbaum’s first novel quickly captures the imagination. [Readers] will not want to wait to see what happens to Ivy and Rowan in the second installment of this trilogy.”
Review, Chicago Tribune, August 15, 2009
“Witty . . . Ivy and Rowan encounter a lively assemblage of eccentrics, bound to return in later volumes of the Poisons of Caux trilogy.”