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Summary: The trip to Egypt may be behind them, but cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair know that they still have more to do. As they are getting ready to travel to Scotland in search of the Scroll of the Ancients, they get their first surprise. Aunt Isabel will be delayed, but Kim Maleka, a young girl whom Isabel is mentoring, will be joining the boys on the trip. En route to Strathairn Castle, the trio spends some time in Oxford with Humphrey Bittle and his son Benjamin “Ink” Blott. From the outset, danger was never far away. The newly discovered sword with the Excalibur Stone was stolen from the Ashmolean Museum; Humphrey was attacked in his bookstore; Ink was attacked on the train to Scotland; and there were break-ins at Strathairn Castle. Clearly, the race is on to find the Second Stone of Power and the Scroll of the Ancients. Do our young archeo-detectives stand a chance against Dr. Khalid? This is the second book in this middle grade adventure mystery series.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 and Up; read yourself: 11 and Up
Interest Level: 10 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: The dynamics among the three main characters — Adam, Justin, and Kim — is as interesting as the story itself. Their relationship(s) help keep the story grounded, even when the more fantastic elements (e.g., the Eaters of Poison) come into play. Just like the first book, the history is a fascinating element to the plot and I learned a lot about King Arthur and Arthurian legend. This is an excellent read aloud, with the short chapters keep the adventure moving forward and readers wanting more.
Pros: Lots of fun history and Arthurian legend, with a bit of dark magic, too.
Cons: It may be our copy, but given the target audience, it would be better to have wider margins so that the pages didn’t appear so text heavy. As we get deeper into the story, it would be helpful to have a set of biographies for the cast. Their role in the quest, as well as each other, would be helpful in keeping the relationships straight.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a series that will easily hook you on its characters AND its adventures. You may want to have all of the books on hand as the series progresses.
Educational Themes: The author includes a well-organized, detailed guide with an array of information about the Dark Ages, King Arthur, and some of the symbolism of the time. Although she doesn’t include a bibliography in the book, the history is described in such detail that it would be easy to pick up any topic and continue reading about Arthurian legend.
Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, mystery, fantasy, series
Date(s) Reviewed: April 2015
Other Reviews: No Critics' Reviews found. See reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandoble.com