Tombquest: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop

Publication Info: Published January 27th 2015 by Scholastic Inc. Other editions available.

Comments: I don’t usually mention children’s books on my site, but when my nine-year-old grandson, Orion,  told me it was his “favorite book ever” and was very exited about doing a book report on it, I just had to read it. (Book reports apparently aren’t just writing stilted paragraphs anymore. This one included designing and making a t-shirt with the book title and his name in hieroglyphics.)

Tombquest book 1

Tombquest: Book of the Dead is the first in a five book series. Orion discovered book 5 at his karate camp after school program, devoured it, then asked for the rest of them. Considering that he’d rather be computer gaming than reading, I decided to find out what piqued his interest. The book mostly takes place in the Egyptology section of a museum. Orion said he loved the setting and the facts about mummies. (My father, his great grandfather, used to hang out for hours in the Egyptology section of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. as a kid. Gotta love genetics.)

The setting is real but the book is definitely in the fantasy genre. The book is about a boy whose mother works in the museum. The boy has a mysterious fatal illness. After he dies his mother brings him back to life using spells from The Lost Spells of the Book of the Dead. There are serious consequences and evil must be conquered sometime in the next four books.

I admit that despite my rather cliche plot summary, the book had me hooked. Aimed at 10-12 year olds, this book is designed to capture the imagination. Kids don’t get caught up in details the way adults do and forgive plot flaws to just enjoy the ride. I’m glad I’m still enough of a kid to have had fun reading this one.

Thanks for the book recommendation, Orion!

Hand of Silver, Hand of Gold by Christopher Peter Grey

Hand of Silver, Hand of Gold by Christopher Peter Grey

Publication Date: April 21, 2018 (Kindle Edition)

Summary: Set in Bologna, Italy at the end of the 15th century, this book is an historical-fantasy coming of age story. The protagonist, seventeen-year-old Orlando Novi, suspects his recently deceased father didn’t commit suicide, but rather, was murdered. He vows to find out who murdered him and avenge his death.Hand of Silver, Hand of Gold

While mourning at his father’s grave, Orlando encounters a mysterious alchemist. The alchemist digs something out of a very old grave, leaving behind a sinister looking cross. Orlando picks this up and very quickly his life becomes entangled in intrigue, danger and political uprisings. Young and inexperienced in the evils of the world, Orlando struggles to find his path and the truth.

Comments: I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. It is only available on Kindle.

I enjoyed reading it. The book moves along and has excitement at every turn. Primarily, it is an historical mystery, but the alchemy adds a bit of a magical touch.

There are some historical inaccuracies—the book would have benefited from a bit more research (such as a tomato in a sandwich in 1492; tomatoes didn’t appear in Europe until the 16th century ( But these didn’t detract from the sheer swashbuckling fun of the book.

Recommended for those who like to read historical fantasy and/or discover new authors.