464p. Scholastic. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545675994; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545676007.
Gr 9 Up—"It was a fine night for an execution…" but the Red Rook has other plans. Eighteen-year-old Sophia Bellamy, with the help of her older brother Tom and their trusted friend Spear, has freed the prisoners before the Razor could sever their heads. This retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel (a story unlikely to be familiar to most teens) is set in a far-future England and France, when magnetic pole shifts have rendered technology a distant memory. Candlelight, penned letters, and escapes on horseback are the order of the day, and shards of plastic can fetch a pretty price. A political atmosphere similar to the French Revolution has taken hold, and the Rook is determined that innocent lives will not be lost. When not wielding her sword (and a red-tipped feather as a calling card), Sophia is juggling her betrothal of convenience to handsome Frenchman René Hasard, meant to save the Bellamy estate from forfeiture. René is more intriguing (and smarter) than she expected, and though uncomfortable sparks initially fly between them, they soon find they are on the same side, despite René kinship to the Ministre of Security—the very man who has vowed to see the Red Rook brought down. Sophia and René are well matched, and Cameron's atmospheric writing keeps the novel moving. A good choice where Robin LaFevers's Grave Mercy (Houghton Harcourt, 2012) or Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution (Delacorte, 2010) are popular.
VERDICT This dashing story line combines a technology-free dystopia with swashbuckling romance.

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