Rebecca Winter, gifted, cheerful, and poor, had lived sixteen years without once seeing a bomb go off. She might have seen one; London, in 1882, was no less explosive than it is now, for dynamoting was already a vigorous branch of politics. But Becky's path had never crossed a bomb, which is why, on thay sunny May morning, she was thinking of something else entirely; namely, German verbs.
I was so lucky as to find a copy of The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman at the library, in the Italian translation by Gloria Pastorino. I was so excited when I saw it on the shelf of the kids section. I had been looking for it ever since I learned about the existence of The Tiger in the Well and The Tin Princess. Sally Lockhart is one of the best characters of all times.
Do you remember Sally's friend Jim Taylor, and Adelaide, the little girl who was kept as a slave by Mrs Holland in The Ruby in the Smoke? Well, they come back as the main characters of this book. Ten years have passed since their adventures in The Ruby in the Smoke, but Jim has never stopped looking for Adelaide, and one day he suddenly finds her. She's now a beautiful young lady, and someone has arranged for her to learn German and good manners, because she's about to become the princess of a tiny European country threatened by the great powers...
With The Tin Princess Philip Pullman focuses on another powerful female character: Adelaide, who goes from arrogant little brat to princess and ruler of a nation. She's strong and brave, like her new friend Rebecca Winter. Rebecca is a new character, a sixteen-year-old girl well-versed in languages and with a thirst for adventures. And as a friend of Adelaide's she will live a great deal of them!
The Tin Princess has an intricate plot, in which business and politics mix, in which murder is the shortest way of gaining power. I was only a bit disappointed that Sally plays a very minor role in this. But, I suppose, Sally's story was completed in The Tiger in the Well. While The Tin Princess was very engaging, I can't help the feeling that the first two books in the series were far better than the second two. My very favourite book remains The Shadow of the North, while Fred Garland is my favourite character.