From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up—Fourteen-year-old Dessa is an orphan who witnessed her brother's kidnapping years earlier. Now she is working as an acrobat in a traveling circus, but she still continues to search for her twin and the man who took him. She hopes that she will find them in the royal city of Kingsbridge. Topper the juggler and Fisk the strongman plan to rob the royal treasury, and because Dessa is also desperate for money, she reluctantly joins them. Little does she know how much this one decision is going to change her life. This book contains a lot of action, but there are also numerous instances where readers will want to slow down and think about the story more deeply, as when Dessa has flashbacks about her family. Chantler's illustrations range from sepia-toned images to bright and colorful drawings that are full of life and action. The fantastic cover, featuring the three thieves leaping over rooftops as they try to avoid the arrows being fired at them from below, will definitely draw many readers into this engaging book. The exciting story and excellent illustrations will make Tower of Treasure
an especially good choice for reluctant readers.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
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With Northwest Passage (2007), Chantler proved he could balance great cartooning with a layered historical adventure. Here, he sets his sights a little lower with an appealing but incomplete-feeling first book in the Three Thieves graphic-novel series. A young tightrope walker named Dessa joins up (somewhat reluctantly) with two circus mates to stage a raid on a store of royal treasure. What follows is a nice trap-evading infiltration sequence and daring escape, but this book mostly serves to introduce the main players, including Dessa’s companions—a blue-skinned, gnomish pickpocket and a huge “one-headed Ettin” (multiheaded Ettins unseen)—and a few adversaries. Chantler displays a nice grasp of visual pacing for both humor and action sequences, and his artwork is clear, confident, and richly colored. Although Dessa and her mates are only outfitted with the somewhat standard rapport of squabbling fantasy-adventure heroes, deeper character issues are hinted at. A promising start; with the groundwork now laid, we’ll see where the real story goes. Grades 3-5. --Ian Chipman