My rating: 4 of 5 stars
14-year-old Viktor lives in Aryk, Russia. There are three laws — no playing cards, no graffiti, no firearms. Males work in mines, and females in textile mills, unless you’re chosen for the three-year school program, like Viktor. Their lives are controlled by a reclusive Russian overlord that lives in the haunted Staryl Castle. When Viktor sneaks into a large gathering in town square, he’s horrified when he witnesses a man hang to death for possession of a playing card. The hanging haunts his dreams and Viktor is left with burning questions about the cards and a past no one will talk about. The cryptic card graffiti in town seems to be the only clue left about the mysterious past of the playing cards.
Things take an unexpected turn when an orphaned boy of the forest – Romulus, shows up on the first day of school wearing feathers in his tangled hair and a fur coat made from animal pelts. Viktor and his friends are shocked when Romulus shows them a card — an illegal playing card. From there, an unlikely friendship is formed between Viktor and Romulus. Together, they embark on a search to uncover the truth about the cards and what happened to Romulus’s parents. Sprinkle in some fun stuff like Romulus’s homemade weapons that have cool names like Orange Split, Blackbirds, and Fire Wire, some Gypsies that help them piece together the town’s past, and you get a wonderful tale that ultimately leads back to the book’s catchy title, “The Silent Deal”.
A unique, creative story for all ages…Wonderful debut.