This is a cracking adventure story for younger readers by one of my fellow BookElves, Fiona Ingram.
Adam and Justin manage to get leave from school to go with their aunt to Egypt – provided they tell their classes about the history they’ve learned and explored when they get back, of course. Their aunt is on the trail of a missing archaeologist, who may have discovered the tomb of the Scarab King, a monarch even older than the 1st Pharaonic Dynasty. However on the surface of it, they are on a standard tourist trip starting in Cairo, and going up and back down the Nile.
It’s exciting enough as a trip in itself, but when a ragged bystander secretes an odd stone in Adam’s back pocket, while ostensibly selling him three others, things start to turn strange. And strange in Egypt can be dangerous – very dangerous!
Ms Ingram spins a great yarn, and keeps the many characters to just the right number at a time for my tired brain to handle. She also kindly lets the protagonists catch up with each other at regular intervals, which, considering that it’s a long story, is no bad thing – although if you were reading it without interruptions it could slow the narrative down. I was juggling a lot of things while I read this, and I think it’s all credit to the author that whenever I started the book again (sometimes after well over a week, and reading another book in between) I found it easy to pick up with the characters and the story, and get fully immersed in the Egyptology again.
I did take issue with a few details of temples visited and so on, since too much bussing was involved on the riverboat trip, and it’s quite hard to look down on the Sphinx. I didn’t like the ‘one stone to rule them all’ event near the end, which smacked of too many other legends. I don’t think it is a real Egyptian myth, but the source I checked with admitted he wasn’t familiar with pre-Pharaonic history. However I only realised it was the first in a series in the autumn when the second book came out, and it’s cleverly organised to be able to scamper through a number of different legends in various parts of the world, all of which appeal to young people and their history teachers.
It’s very well written and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys history, especially adventures in Egyptian tombs with plenty of booby traps!
I bought the kindle version of this book last summer, possibly at a discount price, I can’t remember. This is my own unbiased review.