Last of Sally Lockhart

The Tin Princess is the last volume in Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart quartet. Sally just features as a very minor character in this tale of derring-do in a Ruritanian-type kingdom, Razkavia. Jim Taylor, Sally's sidekick from earlier novels, features prominently in this one, as does a minor character from an earlier volume in the series.

Most of the novels in this series have been heavily influenced by adventure stories of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries - Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu mysteries, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, and this final novel re-invents Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda.

Don't think though that they're mere pastiches, they certainly aren't. Pullman takes old, tried and tested, in some cases tired forms, and re-invents them brilliantly. Even the introduction of twentieth century mores doesn't usually grate. I've hugely enjoyed all of this series, and think that the two outer books are definitely the best, with The tin princess beating The Ruby in the Smoke by a short head. A fun read that moves at a cracking pace, with good characterisation, and a great storyline. Long live Razkavia!


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