Title: The Silver Sea
Author: Belinda Murrell
Published: 2nd August 2022
Synopsis: The second book in Belinda Murrell’s Tuscian series, set in an Italian Renaissance inspired world filled with magic, mystery, mischievous creatures, and danger at every turn!
‘You don’t understand how dangerous this is. Anyone you see could be a spy. You cannot trust anyone.’
Sophie returns to the magical land of Tuscia and is instantly thrown into danger – Nanna and Caterina Rossellana have been kidnapped.
To save them, Sophie and Nicco must team up with a theatre troupe who are performing for the Mago, in the city across the Silver Sea.
Can Sophie unravel the political intrigues of Venetto and save the grandmothers? Or will she fall foul of the evil Mago and be thrown into the dungeons to be eaten by the Mostro of the Dark Waters?
Journey back to Tuscia with Sophie and Baccio on a bold mission to save Nanna and Nanna’s sister, Caterina Rossellana after they’ve been kidnapped! Sophie and Nicco leave Leo at home with Bia and Bella, and head off on a dangerous mission to save the Rossellana sisters. To hide in plain sight, they join a travelling theatre troupe so they can get to Venetto and save Elena and Caterina. Viola, who runs the travelling theatre company, accepts them despite the misgivings of other members, and Sophie and Nicco suspect someone is working against them, and spying on them – but who? Political intrigues abound and Sophie needs to unravel them and save Elena and Caterina before the Mostro of the Dark Waters comes for them.
The second in the Tuscia series is just as magical as the first, and Sophie’s journey back to Tuscia involves Baccio, the brilliant magical cat, her grandmother, and a journey across the magical world, where politics, plague, and spies influence everything that happens and that has happened – even if it is a small line, everything is relevant, as the mystery and story builds up ad slowly shows what Sophie is really up against. I loved that she was welcomed so warmly back into the Rossellana family – it was like coming home to a safe and wonderful place, that even whilst it was filled with danger, was still somewhere I wanted to be, somewhere I wanted to really visit.
The Tuscia series is so much fun – it takes us to a fantastical world based on Renaissance Italy, and I love it. The Silver Sea builds on what we know and experienced in the Golden Tower, so I highly recommend reading The Golden Tower first, because it sets up everything, or almost everything, you need to know before you indulge in this wondrous tale from the delightfully talented Belinda Murrell. It builds on the trust issues from the first book, showing that you never really know who you can trust, and that it is often the people you least suspect that have the ability to betray you, but in the end, may surprise you in many ways. There is always fear and worry, as well as intrigue and betrayal, but Sophie and Nicco will find loyalty in places so they can carry out their brave rescue mission.
The Silver Sea is set not long after the events of The Golden Tower, as Mum and Archie are still at the summer camp for genius children, whilst Sophie still struggles with dyslexia, but is slowly finding out she has other talents and skills that make her stand out. I love Sophie’s growth over these two novels, and I think she is a fantastic character, because she lets readers who don’t quite fit in anywhere – for whatever reason – that they are special in their own ways, and I think this is wonderful and comforting, to let people know that every skill, every talent – is special and that it is who we are that is important, not what we are good at. It allows Sophie to be herself, whilst also letting her feel what she needs to feel about what goes on around her and in her life. Tuscia is her special place – somewhere she can be who she is. I did feel for her when she felt lonely and wanted to reach out and hug her, to reassure her that she wasn’t alone. And any novel that features cats is awesome as well!
Baccio is my favourite – he is so amazing, loyal, and cheeky, just like a real cat would be. I want a cat just like him! I was so glad Sophie had him as a travelling companion, even though he was irate and grumpy at times, but anyone would be after being made to travel in a backpack! I’m very happy with how this story ended, as it feels like it has wrapped up, but also like there might be more to come, and in my opinion, either will work well and be extremely satisfying for readers. Another brilliant Belinda Murrell book!