In Mal's world, magic is everything. But Mal is a "blank," the anti-magic. Blanks can't be hexed or cursed or saved or killed by magic. And everyone is afraid of themeven Mal himself.
So Mal hides what he isexcept from Essie Roe, a witch and his best friend. On the day Essie reveals his secret and casts him out from the only home he's ever known, Mal experiences the true shock of betrayal.
Now Mal travels the world in search of rare, illegal magical relics. When his partner in crime, Boone, hears rumors of a legendary dagger that can steal a witch's power, Mal knows he's finally found his means of revenge. But as the chase for the fabled knife takes them from Boston to Paris to Constantinople, Mal realizes there are secrets afoot that he's only beginning to understandand all the while the blank monster inside him threatens to escape.
Kendall Kulper grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in Boston with her husband, daughter, and dog. She graduated from Harvard University, where she studied history and literature. Thanks to Salt & Storm and Drift & Dagger, she knows more about nineteenth-century whaling than she ever imagined.
Praise for Drift & Dagger:"This coming-of-age tale features action, adventure, high seas, magic, betrayals, and danger. Fans of alternate histories will enjoy the author's skillful world-building and fantastic dialogue...This bildungsroman has broad appeal."SLJ
"Kulper creates a vivid, richly detailed alternative world...Characterizations, particularly the angry, afflicted Mal, pop as vividly as the alternative setting, offering readers an absorbing experience. Unusual and highly engaging."Kirkus
"Juicy [and] heartbreaking...The world building is strong, surprisingly standing up just as well as in the earlier novel without ever feeling repetitive; this historical fantasy setting, particularly the witch-protected island, is so vibrantly described as to become a character in itself."The Bulletin
"Kulper creates an emotional adventure that will appeal to lovers of fantasy as well as new converts."School Library ConnectionFrom the Publisher
07/01/2015School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A teen comes of age in a historical setting and under difficult and harsh conditions. Mal, an orphan with a dangerous secret, and Essie, whose mother is the Roe witch of Prince Island, are friends from a young age: both are outcasts. At 13, Essie tells the village Mal's secret. Hurt and angry, the boy flees the island on a ship and begins a new life. He meets Boone, a partner who needs the secret Mal carries to hunt magical items. The young man tries to control his anger and the monster inside him, but vengeful thoughts threaten to take him over. As Mal and Boone begin a dangerous search for the fabled Shar, a knife that takes a person's magic forever, Mal struggles to remain human. This coming-of-age tale features action, adventure, high seas, magic, betrayals, and danger. Fans of alternate histories will enjoy the author's skillful world-building and fantastic dialogue. A few short, gory scenes might be too much for some sensitive readers, but a very light romance spattered throughout won't deter younger middle school readers. VERDICT This bildungsroman has broad appeal for those who enjoyed Catherine Jinks's "Pagan Chronicles" (Candlewick) or Celia Rees's Pirates! (Bloomsbury, 2003).—Cathleen Ash, Manor High School Library, TX
In an alternate 1850s, a boy with no magic struggles to survive in a world dominated by it. Virtually everyone in Kulper's world has some form of magic or is at least affected by magic. Those with Talents earn appreciation, while Others, people with true magical gifts, can become prized members of their communities. Mal, however, is a "blank," a rare, feared person who not only has no magic, but one upon whom magic has no effect whatever. Born on Prince Island, his best friend is Essie, who will one day become the famed Roe witch and help to control the weather for the whaling and merchant ships. However, Essie betrays Mal's secret to the islanders, forcing him to flee. He teams up with Boone, a shady dealer in magical items. When Boone learns of the shar, a long-lost knife with the power to cut magic out of people, the two begin a desperate quest to acquire it and the riches it represents. Now 18, Mal wants revenge on Essie and intends to use the shar on her. Kulper creates a vivid, richly detailed alternative world grounded in history but with the added magical twist. Instead of witches, blanks are feared and persecuted. Characterizations, particularly the angry, afflicted Mal, pop as vividly as the alternative setting, offering readers an absorbing experience. Unusual and highly engaging. (Paranormal adventure. 12-18)