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The White Tower

 

‘The White Tower’ is the second book of The Sun, The Moon and the Stars Trilogy for 8 – 13 year olds.  The three main protagonists from the first book ‘One Sun, One Moon, Two Stars’ Jonathan, Ben and Victoria – now fifteen – are joined in this adventure by a younger girl – a Romany called Tamara whom they discover can also travel through time.

She comes to find them in order to tell them that their friend and mentor, the Gleeman, has been arrested in Mary Tudor’s London, a time and place fraught with danger because of the religious turmoil of the period. 

All four children return to Tudor England to search for the Gleeman.  Deciding they will have to split up if they are to have any hope of finding him Ben is the first to find work when offered a position at Lambeth Palace by Bishop Pye.  The others have to find work through a ‘hiring fair’.

Victoria is hired by a young woman whilst Tamara and Jonathan get work in Whitehall Palace.

Each of the protagonists faces considerable danger as they search for the missing Gleeman in a hostile time.  Jonathan and Tamara end up being arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London, while Ben only succeeds in escaping from arrest because the Bishop hides him when the Queen’s soldiers arrive at Lambeth Palace.

Victoria, meanwhile, gains employment at the Tower and eventually learns the Gleeman is a prisoner there.  Ben joins her at the little house beside the Thames where she now lives with the young woman and her husband who first gave her work. 

Eventually they learn their friends and the Gleeman are to be executed by fire at Smithfield.  Putting together a plan to rescue their friends they join the crowds streaming into Smithfield to watch the executions and manage to rescue them as the first fire is lit.

There are a number of underlying plots in The White Tower including the return of Sylvene, the woman who pretended to be their friend in One Sun, One Moon, Two Stars, the first book in the series. 

Not only does Sylvene appear at the end of the book when the children have returned to the twenty first century, much to their concern they discover she is accompanied by Master Walker, Queen Mary’s Steward, who had had Jonathan and Tamara arrested in Tudor England.

Margaret Armand Smith