You, who have dug deep and sifted hard for a story to read, have unearthed an ancient treasure: a mystery from the dusty ages, when a boy could be a hero and fight for the good of all . . .
Zet and Kat are in charge, now that their father is off fighting the Hyksos. Times are rough. One day, Zet spots a thief running from the medjay police. When the man gets away, the authorities offer a generous payment for his capture. Zet's determined to find the thief and to help his family by winning the much needed reward. The chase leads him and Kat into forbidden temples whispering with the voices of ancient gods, through a mysterious land of gold and majesty that the world has never forgotten.
Ancient Egypt mystery awaits!
In "The Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll," Scott Peters has provided the reader with a fast, paced mystery set in the times of ancient Thebes in Egypt. The book is probably written for the middle school to early high school reading levels. As a former teacher, I am always interested in books that may get children reading, and this is one!
Serving in the Pharaoh's army, father has gone to war to fight the Hyksos, and times are hard for the family left behind. Eleven-year-old Zet and his younger sister Kat are left with the responsibility of minding the shop, but each week the children's earnings dwindle until they fear they won't have enough to feed themselves, their baby brother and their mother. So when a thief bounds through the market place, Zet overhears a medjay (police officer) offer a reward for information. So he steps up to the medjay to offer to help catch the thief in exchange for the reward. Of course Kat, his younger sister, thinks he's crazy. Unfortunately, this foolhearty decision soon lands Zet and his sister in dangerous trouble, so deep their very lives and the lives of their family as well as others are in extreme danger.
The book is well written with strong description of the characters and the events. Peters depicts a realistic Egyptian setting for this historical novel. Without question, it is an action-packed mystery set in an ancient land with great attention to detail; the book will appeal to young and old readers alike. There are several simple themes running through the book; the most obvious are: Don't judge a book by its cover, and The importance of doing what is right - both for your family and your fellow man. Since things are not what they appear to be, to save their family, Zet and Kat together must learn about people: who to trust and who has evil motives.
If you are interested in a quick read for yourself or in introducing a delightful mystery for a younger person, I do recommend this historical novel, "The Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll" by Scott Peters, to all middle grade readers or adults who may enjoy a quick, historical mystery.
Eleven-year-old Zet and his younger sister Kat are left with the responsibility of minding the shop while their father is in a faraway land fighting for Egypt and their Pharaoh. But each week the children's earnings dwindle until they fear they won't have enough to feed themselves, their baby brother and their mother. So when a thief bounds through the market place, Zet steps up to the medjay, or police officer, to offer to help catch the thief in exchange for the reward. This brave, but foolish action soon lands Zet and his sister in trouble, so deep their very lives and the lives of their family are in peril.
As Zet and his sister wind their way through the streets of Thebes, the scents and sounds and activity of the thriving commercial city come alive. They meet many people in their quest from the man who grows papyrus to make into paper, to the blind lady on the side of the road, to the merchants in the market, to the high priest of the sacred Temple of Amenenopet. But they are not all as they seem. To save their family, Zet and Kat must learn who to trust, who has evil motives and what those evil motives are.
It is an action-packed mystery set in an ancient land with great attention to detail. I recommend this historical novel to all middle grade readers.
This book offers better than average characters and a decent, reasonably well plotted and well paced mystery/adventure, but where it truly excels is in its ancient Egyptian setting.
I suspect that most middle graders have had enough of the Victorian era, or at least would be intrigued by something different. There are some interesting medieval-ish swordplay stories out there, and some interesting work set in a Native American context, or the Civil War or Revolutionary Eras, but after that the historical, not to mention foreign, venues get pretty thin. (To digress, I'm a little unnerved that the World War II, fifties and even sixties eras I actually know are starting to drift into what kids today would consider historical.)
This book nails time and place. We have a pre-Christian time and fabulous and romantic New Kingdom Egypt. Scott Peters has written other works for kids that explore ancient Egypt, (and mummies!), and he has seamlessly drawn all of that scholarship into the sights, sounds, colors, and feel of his Zet mysteries. The history and description isn't ladled on or weighed down by tedious exposition but rather is introduced subtly and naturally in the context of the telling of the adventure story.
As a consequence we get two kids, a brother and sister team, who are relatable and appealing and yet clearly of their time and circumstance. This is all presented in broad brushstrokes, (I wouldn't use this book as a research authority), which keeps it interesting and entertaining even while it is informative in a general and impressionistic way. The fact that there is a mystery, a theft, a conspiracy, and loads of chases just keeps the excitement and interest level high all of the way through to the satisfying conclusion.
So, a very happy and rewarding find with a lot of middle grade reader appeal. A very nice book to recommend.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
Needing something quick and fun, I decided to read this book to see if it was something I would want to recommend to my 10 and 12 year old grandchildren for a summer read. It kept my attention as an adult, so I'm sure they will enjoy it too! The only hesitation I have is that I wouldn't want them to think there is any gods, such as the sun god, since the Bible is very clear that there is only One True God. But this will give me an opportunity to discuss that with them as well. Thank you.