Author: Linda A. Cadose
Publication Date: January 12, 2012
Recommended Age: 10+
Egyptian archeologist, Dr. Khalid Saad discovers a hidden chamber in the right paw of the Great Sphinx using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). He invites his life-long friend, American archeologist, Dr Cliff Post to join him on the expedition to open the hidden chamber. Cliff eagerly agrees.
Before they can open the chamber, they must obtain a digging permit from the Supreme Council on Antiquities. To obtain the permit, Cliff and Khalid must contend with Dr. Hosnee Sadat who wants to open the chamber himself and to bar all westerners from the expedition.
When the chamber is opened, they discover an ancient supercomputer composed of 13 crystal skulls. After the computer is discovered, Drs. Post and Saad are followed, spied on and kidnapped.
The Hidden Chamber in the Great Sphinx has a great deal of factually based information on ancient Egypt which is rolled into a fun mystery/adventure.
Learn the fate of Drs. Post, Saad and Sadat.
My Thoughts: We’ve reviewed middle grade books set in Egypt before. Some involved mystery and adventure in modern day Egypt (e.g., The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram) and others involved time-travel back to ancient Egypt (e.g., The Golden Scarab by S.W. Lothian). The Hidden Chamber in the Great Sphinx by Linda Cadose represents another foray into Egyptian history, merging mystery, historical fact, and science fiction. And, as we all know by now, I am a big fan of Egyptian (and Greek) history and mythology.
The story in The Hidden Chamber in the Great Sphinx centres around an archaeological discovery (a real one in fact!): that, hidden underneath the right paw of the Great Sphinx lies a hidden chamber. While in reality, the Egyptian government has refused to issue a permit to dig and explore the chamber, in this book, Cadose speculates about what might be uncovered should the chamber be opened. Thus, when Dr. Khalid Saad (an Egyptian archaeologist) obtains the permit, he calls up his friend Dr. Cliff Post (an American archaeologist and the main character in the story) to assist him with the excavation.
Tensions arise when Dr. Saad’s rival, Dr. Hosnee Sadat joins their research team. Dr. Sadat holds a well-publicized disdain for American archaeologists who do work in Egypt fearing they steal from dig sites and sell Egyptian artifacts on the Black Market. As “accidents” begin to happen, leaked media reports are aired, and Dr. Post is kidnapped, fingers are pointed all around as to who is sabotaging the dig. Could it be that someone is desperate to get their hands on the contents of the chamber: 13 mysterious crystal skulls believed to be a super-computer?
The major strength of this book is the detailed descriptions of Egyptian history including information about the theories behind the building of the pyramids, mummification, hieroglyphics, and mythology and religion. Further, Cadose spends a great deal of time educating her readers on the art, science, and processes behind archaeology. These educational components are interwoven with the storyline. I think that upper middle grade children would learn so much about all of these things from this book. I would say that the educational value of this book is high. That being said, I did feel that sometimes the main plot was “interrupted” by the lengthy descriptions. I also would have liked more details about the plot which did feel a bit rushed in some spots.
The storyline itself involves suspense and mystery. The anticipation builds as the archaeological team gets closer to discovering what is hidden in the chamber. We discover that there are 13 crystal skulls (a scene reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) in the chamber, with the theory being that they are a super-computer planted there in the distant past by aliens. Alongside this discovery, Dr. Cliff Post is the victim of a number of incidents clearly placing him in grave danger. The mystery builds throughout the story as the culprit behind these incidents is revealed.
One of the things I was wondering about is how an adult main character would go over with a middle grade audience. Most of the middle grade books we have reviewed involve main characters who are roughly the same age as the target audience, but in this case, the main character, Dr. Cliff Post, is an adult male. Part of the storyline involves his deepening relationship with his girlfriend/fiance Lisa and her son Max but I’m not sure this would be of interest to middle grade readers.
My Bottom Line: Egyptian history, mystery and intrigue are key components of this fast-paced thriller which has high educational value and a twisting plot. I think upper middle grade children who are interested in stories set in Egypt and who love suspense would enjoy this book. Ages 10+.
About The Author: Linda A. Cadose
Linda Cadose is a retired Registered Respiratory Therapist. In 2011, she realized her life-long dream of becoming a professional writer. She loves to travel and has been to Egypt. She was born in Plymouth, MA. and now resides in Carver, MA. She is particularly interested in writing for the middle grade and young adult markets.
Author Website: http://lindacadose.authorsxpress.com/
Goodreads: Linda A. Cadose
Google+: Linda Cadose
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