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The Traitors' Gate

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  500 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
John Huffam is sure the tall man's beard is false. He's sure of little else in November 1849, the year he is fourteen, the year his father is sentenced to London's Whitecross Street Prison.

Maybe the man following John -- who claims to be one Inspector Copperfield -- can explain why. Surely, Pa isn't prepared to reveal the truth, any more than the jovial bailiff, Mr. Tuck
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 22nd 2007 by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Rain Misoa
Nov 03, 2013 Rain Misoa rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Avi fans and people who are okay with not having closure.
Recommended to Rain by: Library
This marks the end of my Avi reads kick! It's been a fun ride. I know he has written a lot more novels but, sadly, I do not have any more with me... yet. >:3 One day, I hope to re-visit Avi's works and enjoy other stories he has created. However, for now, I shall call it a day and review this book.

This book was... okay. I hate to say this because Avi truly has become one of my favorite authors, but this is not among my favorites. Not to say it is a bad book... I just didn't like it as much as
Jul 11, 2012 Celia rated it liked it
John Huffman has always been told that he should be proud to be the last Huffman. His father considers himself a gentleman, until he ends up in debtors jail for owing a mysterious man 400 pounds. His father claims he has never met the man. Is his father telling the truth? John is not so sure.
Dan Rogers
Apr 10, 2012 Dan Rogers rated it it was amazing
In this interesting work of historical fiction we meet the Huffam family; Wesley John Louis Huffam (the father), Leticia (the mother), Clarissa (age 17) and John Horatio Huffam (age 14) and the narrator of this interesting story of deception, mystery, and intrigue set in 1849 London. As the story opens Wesley announces to his family that it is very likely that by the end of the week he will be in prison which causes no small uproar among the women of the family. Leticia responds by shrieking, ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for

THE TRAITORS' GATE is everything you'd expect from an Avi novel--a well-realized historical adventure, plenty of suspense, and lots of surprises along the way. Whether you're intrigued by Victorian England, you like a good mystery, or you're just looking for a book that will keep you guessing right until the final chapter, you'll find something to enjoy here.

It is the mystery of THE TRAITORS' GATE that will keep readers turning the pages. If 14-year-old
Another of my "historical mystery for teens" research books. Although I give it a four, it's actually more like a three and a half. John Huffam is a fourteen year old boy in mid 1800s London. His father is a ne'er-do-well, a gambler, and a man who, in typical Dickensian fashion, lives in a world of elaborate self-deception and rationalization. When his gambling addiction lands him in debtor's prison, his son is forced to try to rescue him and is pulled into an exciting, complex mystery that ...more
Karen Keyte
Aug 01, 2011 Karen Keyte rated it really liked it

“”By the end of this week,” said my father, as if speaking of a change in weather, “there’s a possibility I shall be sent to prison.”” - John Horatio Huffam

With these few words, spoken with his characteristic mildness, John Huffam’s father ignites a veritable firestorm within the household - and John finds himself at the very center. With his father locked away in debtor’s prison, it seems that everyone turns to fourteen-year-old John to make things right. But, as John quickly learns, there is a
KidsFiction Teton County Library
TCL CALL #: J AVI (One Click Digital)
Chris’s Rating: 3 Stars

When John Huffman’s father, a self professed gentleman and actor is arrested for owing 300 pounds to a single creditor, he is facing a long stint in debtors prison, if nothing can be done to clear his name. This same father is a clerk responsible for recording British cannon designs that are sure to revolutionize warfare. This bit of information is likely to be worth a lot of money…but selling it to anyone is certain treason. John doesn
Mar 21, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
John Horatio Huffam lives in Victorian London with his father, mother and older sister. Into his life comes the misfortune of his father owing a great deal of money. So much, that he has to go to debtor's prison. But the mystery is that John's father is sure he doesn't owe that much money to the man whose name is on the writ, Mr. O'Doul. Is there treachery involved? John's father tells him he must go to his great, great Aunt Euphemia and get the money he needs to pay back the writ. But Aunt ...more
Dec 03, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it
When John Huffam's father is imprisoned for his debts, young John tries to piece together the mystery that surrounds his father's fate. His father is a gambler, yes, but he insists he never owed any one person the 300 pounds he is indebted for. This event sets off a series of odd, curious interactions between mysterious characters... some are suspected spies, traitors, and other dishonest people.

It is left to John to clear his father's name...since he is the most reliable of the family. His fat
Kater Cheek
Mar 02, 2010 Kater Cheek rated it liked it
This book feels like Dickens for middle school readers. It's got the same gritty London feel of Dickens' novels, and even references David Copperfield.

John Huffam is the fourteen-year-old son of a man sentenced to debtor's prison. He doesn't know how or why his father managed to rack up so many debts, or to whom, but in the process of uncovering the mystery, he uncovers an intrigue that involves several nations and a cast of odd characters.

The benefit of having a novel set in mid-nineteenth-cent
Erin Thomas
Apr 30, 2011 Erin Thomas rated it really liked it
Avi's The Traitors' Gate is a Dickensian-feeling middle-grade mystery. By the end, I was completely caught up in it. I gave it only four stars because of a slow start, but when Avi starts gathering up the plot threads, everything is interconnected.

What I liked best about this book was the richness of the language. Avi uses words and images deliberately. There's some lovely stuff near the end about coats being like fates that we grow into (or don't), so on my next read-through, I'll be paying clo
Ryan Devaux
Dec 11, 2012 Ryan Devaux rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 13-25
The Traitors Gate is about a boy named John who lives in England. John goes to a military school and his father makes 100 pounds a year which in his time is considered to be above average for pay. One day John's family is told by his father that he will probably be going to jail. The next day John comes home from school and the police are at his house taking all of his family's stuff and arresting his father. John finds out that he is going to debtors prison unless he can pay 300 pounds by the ...more
I'm torn a little I'd like to give it 4.5 stars, so I'm rounding up to 5. A very well written book, it has the feel of being written quite a while ago by someone who actually IS from England. I found however that unlike much of what I imagine was written back then, it was very easy to understand and follow (I enjoyed the writing style enough I may look up other titles by the author). A great mystery/spy book, it was a bit slow to start, but once it got going, it was contstant twists and turns. ...more
Avi borrows a few incidents from Charles Dickens’ life, including his middle name, in this engaging mystery. John Huffam must find a way to settle his father’s gambling debts in order to release his family from prison. He needs to also find why people are spying on his family. Much like a Dickens novel, Traitor’s Gate, unsavory characters with intriguing names populate the story. With a bit of luck and help from unlikely allies John finally unravels the mystery and in the process finds that he ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Having not seen or heard too many favorable reviews of this book, I went in with quite a bit of skepticism. I was completely drawn into the vivid and foggy, often smelly, world of John Huffam's 1849 London. Enjoyed following him trying to solve the tangled messes that his father and all kinds of unsavory people plunged him in. I loved the tone and Avi's deft utilization of Dickensian style. The ending was satisfactory, even if John is left a melancholy boy/man. This part David Copperfield, part ...more
May 23, 2012 Farrah rated it really liked it
This book was great! I am lacking in the scope of my mystery book knowledge (besides Nancy Drew. *Blush* That was a while ago!) so this was a book that I hoped I would enjoy. I wanted to give this book five stars but then I realized that I didn't like it as much as my other five star books such as Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings. There were two points in the book where I started slipping down the dangerous slope of Losing Interest, but right then when the reading was getting slow, up popped a ...more
Michal Barnett
Feb 06, 2014 Michal Barnett rated it really liked it
The Traitors Gate is about a boy named John who lives in England. John goes to a military school and his father makes 100 pounds a year which in his time is considered to be above average for pay. One day John's family is told by his father that he will probably be going to jail. The next day John comes home from school and the police are at his house taking all of his family's stuff and arresting his father. John finds out that he is going to debtors prison unless he can pay 300 pounds by the ...more
Young John Huffam's family has fallen on hard times. His father owes
300 pounds and is thrown into debtor's prison. John wants to help his Pa but isn't sure how. He's being followed by interesting characters: a man claiming to be Inspector Copperfield, and Sari, a homeless girl who works as a "sneak" for hire. He also hopes that his great-aunt will help the family financially. But it turns out there is a greater mystery; several people are interested in what his father has invented, a technique
John Huffam’s life in Victorian London gets dangerous when his family is thrown out of their home because of his father’s gambling debts. Now his father may go to prison, and John has to ask his rich old aunt for money,and get a job. When John encounters some strange characters—an orphan girl named “Sary the Sneak” and a man called “Inspector Copperfield”—he begins to question the real reasons for his father’s arrest. The Traitors’ Gate by Avi is an action-packed story full of twists, turns, and ...more
Mar 29, 2009 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I liked it. Not sure I see a kid/teen sticking through to the end ... but I liked it well enough. This was LOOSELY based (ie really not more than "inspired by") the early life of Charles Dickens. His father was sent to debtor's prison. John Huffam (main character in the book) sees his father put into debtor's prison and at the same time discovers all is not what it appears to be ... a whole other world of intrigue surrounds his father's life. And now John must enter that world with the help of a ...more
Dec 12, 2007 Chrissy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children & Dicken's lovers
As I child it was an Avi book that opened my eyes to the beauty of books. I realized while reading The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, that reading invited all new worlds. . . Avi reminded me of this yet again when I picked up his latest book at our school bookfair. I got lost in it and was done in just 4 days! One of my students beat me at that, but I'm glad as he has now discovered Avi and his talents.

The Traitor's Gate is certainly a nod to Dickens and the London he created so expertly f
Miss Amanda
gr 5-9 351pgs

1849, London, England. John Huffam finds himself involved in a mystery when his father is suddenly put in to debtor's prison for failing to pay a 300 pound debt. How could his father, a "gentleman", have gotten into such trouble? As other characters repeatedly remind him, John is the only one in his family with any common sense, so it is up to him to save his family.

Interesting story with characters that seem like they're out of a Dickens' novel. The story does provide a lot of info
Jan 02, 2013 Clare rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, childrens
In 1849 in England, a young lad, John Huffam learns that his father's gambling debts have caused a multitude of problems, the least of which is having the family thrown out of their home. His father is put in prison until his debts can be paid. John must now come to terms with the loss of not only the life he knew, but also his childhood innocence. He earnestly strives to solve the mystery of who has brought charges against his father and to what purpose. This tale is rich in dialogue and ...more
Debbie Graham
Oct 26, 2012 Debbie Graham rated it liked it
Starts off sloooowly...gets better but still uneven. Leave Dickens to Dickens unless you are really that good. Farquatt is not a French name why use it (did I miss something?) when there are real names to use...Not that kids would care. I think target readers would like the mystery but unless they have already 'met' historical fiction this would not be the best introduction. I did like how it empowered the children in the book as being able to trick adults--however implausible that may be, ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
There is nothing like an Avi book. I love his writing. This was the story of a young man, John Huffam, who is confronted with many mysteries. His father is facing debtor's prison and yet, he seems unperturbed. There are many interesting Dickensian characters that inhabit his world. John is a very upstanding young man and people recognize this. It was a treat to listen to John Keating narrate (although having listened to him reading the "Ranger's Apprentice" series, I had to remember that he ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Kidsbookworm rated it it was amazing
Normally, I wouldn't rate a book, especially give it 5 stars, until I was finished with it, but I'm so impressed with the rich vocabulary and well written story line that I couldn't wait. I don't think that the rest of the book will disappoint, so I don't anticipate changing my rating.

This intriguing mystery is a great story for learning about turn of the century London through the eyes of a child.

I loved every page. It is a treasure that I hadn't discovered until it was on dd's reading list fo
Jun 01, 2008 Kani rated it liked it
Recommends it for: young readers & mystery buffs
Recommended to Kani by: library
I actually listened to this book, which was a fun way to hear it because of the great accents of the reader and because of the extreme amount of alliteration used by the author. it's quite a mystery for young people (in fact a boy is the hero and his helper a girl)and of course ultimately all ends for the best. it's a nice length and excellent dialogue as well as a simple yet complicated plot to hook you in to find out how it all turns out.
Eva Mitnick
Apr 08, 2008 Eva Mitnick rated it liked it
This is one of Avi's "19th Century" books. He delves into the muck and poverty of London with this Dickensian tale of 14-year-old John who aims to discover the mystery behind his father's plunge into bankruptcy. Scotland Yard, military secrets, and a street urchin named Sary the Sneak all play important roles. The action is not non-stop, but mostly this is a vivid adventure that young fans of historical fiction or mysteries will enjoy.
Sep 19, 2011 Thebruce1314 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-gots
A little slow in the beginning, but once I got into it it was a quick read. A Victorian mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. I think that I might have enjoyed this more when I was younger - I was a little frustrated with the ending and the fact that the story seemed to go around in circles for the last hundred pages or so. Still, a decent story and the frequent, atmospheric illustrations definitely add enjoyment to the tale.
May 20, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it
Avi is great at using historical elements to his advantage and adapting those elements for children. The Traitors' Gate is an engrossing mystery centered around the trials of a young boy, John Huffman. Avi uses John's struggles in the late 1800s and spins a coming of age story that a child of any era can follow.

The Traitors' Gate is a great representation of the time it takes place in, and is great for those who are fans of Charles Dickens.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Traitors' Gate 1 2 Feb 10, 2012 08:14AM  
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