Tut sets out to find his brother and protector, Gil, who has gone missing from their Washington, D.C., town house. Tut discovers that Gil is being held prisoner by the Egyptian god Apep. With the help of the Sun god, Ra, Gil managed to vanquish Apep thousands of years ago, and now the god is back for vengeance. It’s up to Tut and his friends Tia and Henry to stop Apep before he succeeds in his evil scheme to swallow the sun and plunge the world into darkness forever.
“Being an immortal 14-year-old pharaoh isn’t all scepters and servants; there’s also the overthrowing of a homicidal cult—and finishing one’s homework…Merging the voice of an outspoken contemporary 14-year-old with centuries-old expletives (“Holy Amun!”) renders Tut both comedic and devoted to his origins…A pyramid history buffs and fantasy fans will delight in excavating.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[R]eaders will be pulled into this adventurous story of the young boy ruler and his ordeal….it quickly becomes a fast-moving adventure with surprising twists. The ending is satisfying, with a hint that a sequel may be in the works. The author provides historical notes about the real King Tutankhamen, which may spark an interest in learning more about Egyptian History. Fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series (Hyperion) will surely enjoy this title. A fine purchase for libraries where historically based adventures are in demand.” —School Library Journal
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Where I Play with Fire
“Great Master, we have a problem.”
I nearly tripped over the army of small clay men in front of me as I walked into my townhouse. It was the shabti leader who spoke, Colonel Cody, finally back from whatever errand he’d been running. He stood there wringing his hands frantically. His golden face looked ashen. Or maybe that was my imagination. His face never really changed color, seeing as how it was painted on. Behind him stood twenty shabtis, also gold, but with green clothing. My special fighting unit. This couldn’t be good.
“What kind of problem do we have?” I asked, trying to keep my voice steady. I didn’t want to upset the little shabti. Since he’d returned from the underworld, he’d been trying extra hard to please me. I’d almost lost him during the whole Uncle Horemheb debacle. But thanks to Horus, I’d gotten him back. Sure, Horus had to travel to the underworld to retrieve Colonel Cody, but since Horus was a god, it wasn’t as epic as it seemed.
He steadied his hands in front of himself, like he was trying to stay calm. “There seems to be an issue in the basement. We believe your assistance might be required, Great Pharaoh.”
Oh the shabtis. How I loved them. After nearly a hundred years together, I always knew when they were holding out on me. They never flat out lied, but they did have an amazing ability to dance around the truth.
“The basement?” I almost never went down to the basement of my townhouse. If there was ever a problem with the plumbing or electrical work, the shabtis took care of it. They were way better at that kind of stuff than me, which made me sure this wasn’t some sort of loose wiring or something like that.
“The basement,” Colonel Cody said, nodding. Since he was the leader of my shabtis, he took charge of pretty much anything that went wrong.
“And you’re sure you need my help?” I asked. I needed to find Gil. I’d already mapped out the places I was going to search for the rest of the day.
“Absolutely certain,” Colonel Cody said. He eyes were wide and unblinking.
Whatever was going on in the basement, I wasn’t getting out of it. So I followed the army of shabtis down two flights of stairs.
Colonel Cody held a tiny torch that looked like it had been constructed from a Q-tip and a Band-Aid. It wasn’t doing much to light up the place, so I let a small amount of light escape from my scarab heart. Gil’s scarab heart. I was still trying to get used to it, and it didn’t feel right to call it my own.
“Open the door, Great Master,” Colonel Cody said. But right as he spoke, something slammed into the wooden door from the other side.
My gut reaction was to step back, but then my brain took over. I was not stepping back from whatever was behind this door. I was the great pharaoh Tutankhamun. I’d hunted jackals and ridden on the backs of rhinoceros. I was more than capable of facing whatever dust bunnies the shabtis might have uncovered. I opened the door.
The light from my scarab heart bounced off the thing in front of me, and instantly I regretted it. It was about the size of a polar bear. I knew this because I’d just seen one at the zoo. Except unlike a cute little polar bear face, the thing in front of me had the head of a lion with bright white fangs popping out on either side of its ginormous mouth. Drool spilled from its black lips and dripped onto the concrete floor of the basement. Its tail stood straight up behind it. Actually it wasn’t really a tail. It was a snake, which hissed as soon as it saw me.
The thing lifted its upper lip into a snarl, exposing two rows of terrifying teeth that could rip my arm off in one solid bite. Armless was not how I intended to spend the rest of my immortal life.
“What. Is. It?” I asked Colonel Cody, keeping my voice low so I wouldn’t upset the monster. But it didn’t work because that’s when the ears on the thing perked up; they were at least a foot tall. With those ears, it could probably hear a grain of sand fall in the Potomac River from ten miles away.
“It appears to be a monster,” Colonel Cody said. He stood bravely at my feet, and with a small wave of his arm, the twenty battle shabtis moved forward, forming four rows of five. And though my shabtis were fierce when it came to protecting me, I was pretty sure this thing could step on them with its huge lion paws and crush them.
“What kind of mon—” I started, but I didn’t have time to finish, because the thing let out a huge roar that made my bones vibrate. Globby drool spewed from its mouth and drenched me. And then it pounced.