Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur

Author Fiona Ingram knows how to get a reader hooked. After reaching the exciting conclusion to The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first book in her Chronicles of the Stone Series, I turned the page to find an excerpt from Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. Of course I couldn't resist taking a peek, so I was immediately transported on Justin and Adam's adventure in their quest to find The Scroll of the Ancients and the second Stone of Power in Oxford and Scotland.

About The Search for the Stone of Excalibur:

Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur.

However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Join Justin and Adam as they search not only for the second Stone of Power, but also for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, they learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped.

About Fiona Ingram:
Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—The Chronicles of the Stone. This was inspired by a family trip the author took with her mom and two young nephews aged ten and twelve at the time. The book began as a short story for her nephews and grew from there. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is a treat for young King Arthur fans. Fiona is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico.

While writing The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, Fiona fostered (and later adopted) a young African child from a disadvantaged background. Her daughter became the inspiration for the little heroine, Kim, in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. Interestingly, the fictional character’s background and social problems are reflected in the book as Kim learns to deal with life. Fiona’s experiences in teaching her daughter to read and to enjoy books also inspired many of her articles on child literacy and getting kids to love reading.

Book Review:
One of the things I liked the most about The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was the unique cast of characters, and readers are introduced to even more in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, including Kim, a young African girl Aunt Isabel sends to England with Justin and Adam while she heads to off to France to care for the injured James Kinniard. Then there's the lovable Ink Blott, his adoptive father Humphrey Biddle, and fussy (but endearing!) academic Archibald Curran. Middle-grade readers will love reading a story centered around the mysterious King Arthur and his infamous sword.

The supernatural powers Adam discovered in the first book are explained in greater detail in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and Ingram maintains her knack for creating creepy villains, including the return of the contemptible Dr. Khalid. From their first appearance, I was chomping at the bit to find out who the Eaters of the Poison were and how they factored into the quest. As usual, the descriptive and sensory details of the setting placed me smack in the middle of the action and perilous situations and made me longing for my own Straithairn Castle to visit. As a bonus, there's some great reading material at the end of the book on King Arthur, which should please any young history buffs wanting to know more. And of course, don't forget the teaser for the next book in the series, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


Fiona Ingram said...

I am so glad you enjoyed it! I'm sure you will just love Book 3 which has even more adventure and excitement!

Renee Roberson said...

Thank you, Fiona! I love books like these where kids can get so wrapped up in the adventure that they don't even realize they are learning :-)