Title: Sons of the Sphinx | Author: Cheryl Carpinello | Publication Date: October 10, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 182 | Recommended Ages: 10+
Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3000 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb – who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic – if she is to stay alive to make it back home.
My Thoughts: Rosa is no ordinary 10th grader. She can hear and speak to ghosts – a gift she finds vexing at best. But her life is turned upside down when the ghost of King Tut appears at her side telling her that the spirit of his one true love, Ankhesenamun (Hesena), resides within her. Tut only has 7 days to travel back in time to find Ay, a trusted family friend, who can reveal the location of Ankhesenamun’s final resting place, thus bringing the two together for the rest of eternity.
Standing in their way is General Horemheb, who with the help of the evil Egyptian God Seth, will stop at nothing to change the history books making his lineage the rulers of Egypt and portraying Tut’s family as traitors to Egypt. Travel back in time with Rosa in this well-written thriller plunging readers into the fascinating and often sordid history of ancient Egypt and its many rulers.
Cheryl Carpinello managed to draw me into the story from the first chapter as we are introduced to Rosa, the main character who is telling the story from her perspective. I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic toward Rosa as a character who doesn’t quite fit in, but who also experiences what every teenage girl dreams about: the sudden appearance of a young attractive man who needs her help ~ *swoon*. Ok, maybe he is looking to be reunited with his one true love (not Rosa) and he (and his love) happen to be ghosts; but, still… it’s very romantic. Carpinello effectively deals with the tension among this “triangle” of characters: Rosa, Tut, and Hesena.
Aside from these characters, there are a few Egyptian characters who play important roles in the overall plot including Ay, the Pharaoh who rose to the throne after King Tut died, and the evil General Horemheb who is able to step between the world of the living and dead to be a constant threat to Rosa’s life and to Tut’s mission. Tut spends a considerable amount of time unraveling the history of his family for Rosa’s (as well as the reader’s) benefit, correcting any misconceptions she may have had along the way. This was a clever way to introduce Egyptian history to young readers. The author includes a glossary of Egyptian Gods, Egyptian people with historical significance, and Egyptian places and terms. I found this to be helpful, but I felt that Tut’s family tree at the beginning of the book would have been helpful as many of the names were somewhat similar, shortened forms of names were sometimes used, and most of the names were difficult to pronounce.
As we’ve seen with her other books (e.g., Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom), one of the strengths of Cheryl Carpinello as an author is to indulge young readers with theories and hypotheses around some of the most popular legends of our time (e.g., Arthurian legend, the mysteries surrounding King Tut’s life and death). Carpinello has done her research and is so successful at immersing readers in these legends by creating vividly detailed historical fiction whereby the characters from these legends are featured in the stories themselves.
For example, through Tut’s narrative, we learn that his father, Akhenaten was the first Pharaoh to move from polydeism (the worship of many gods) to monodeism (the worship of one god). We also learn details (i.e., theories) surrounding Tut’s death, Pharaoh Ay’s death, and the rise of General Horemheb to power all occurring within the 18th Dynasty. There is an incredible amount of educational value to Sons of the Sphinx.
My Bottom Line: Sons of the Sphinx is a time-travel thriller featuring a race against time with the stakes being King Tut being separated from his beloved Queen Ankhesenamun for all of eternity as well as the history books forever portraying King Tut’s family as traitors to the people of Egypt. I recommend this exciting story to children ages 11 and older who enjoy reading stories about ancient Egypt or who are just looking for their next great adventure.
*I received a copy of this book free-of-charge from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
More Buzz About The Book
2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval
2014 Literary Classics Silver Medal Winner, PreTeen/Tween
“The author has done a marvelous job of negotiating the disputed points of this era and woven them into a seamless time travel historical adventure for middle grade, teen readers and adults. Her characters are well-developed and manage to appear authentic in both the ancient and modern time periods.” ~ Amazon, Barbara Ann Mojica
“I am a fan of historical fiction and I really enjoyed Sons of the Sphinx. It is a well written tale that gives readers a glimpse of ancient Egypt and the lives of Pharaohs who reigned thousands of years ago. The author does a wonderful job of filling in details, where historians are uncertain, that add to the believability of this captivating story.” ~ Amazon, Stacie T.
“Carpinello is masterful in her descriptions of ancient Egypt and makes this time travel fantasy very enjoyable indeed. Sons of the Sphinx is highly recommended.” ~ Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite
“Full of adventure, self-discovery, and packed with historical facts, this novel is a perfect read for any girl who’s going through puberty. If I were still there in my life, I would have given it 5 stars for sure!” ~ Amazon, Erika G.
“Sons of the Sphinx is an engaging work of fiction that incorporates many fascinating historical facts that are skillfully intertwined within the pages of a truly terrific read. Sons of the Sphinx comes highly recommended and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.” ~ Literary Classics Book Reviews
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