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??????????     If you have The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey, you most definitely will want to add this to your fantasy collection. This is the second book of the series, but it could be read as a stand-alone.  In this tale, Jaxter Grimjinx, of the infamous Grimjinx family of thieves, must find out why a notorious group of thieves, known as Shadowhands are disappearing.  He also wants to know why the High Laird has begun imprisoning a peaceful group of people known as the Sarosans. Of course, nothing is ever easy, not what it seems to be in Vengekeep.

In the course of his adventure he makes new friends and allies - one of them was a former enemy of his.  At the end of the book, although things are somewhat resolved, the reader will know that more of the story is yet to come. This is a delightful, suspense-filled fantasy for the 10 -12 year old reader.

Any story about children who manage to best adults with their skills or powers is always fascinating to younger readers.  One must suspend concrete knowledge in order the get into the story.  For instance, Jaxter carries with him a few pouches of herbs.  He never runs out of them, although he is constantly using them; and, he always seems to have just what he needs in those pouches.  Once, they are taken away from him, but the stupid adults who took the pouches leave them where he can get his hands on them again. Still, it is a good story, and I feel I can recommend it for upper elementary and possibly the middle-school student.