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The Red Pyramid
Riordan, Rick; The Red Pyramid. New York, NY: Hyperion Books, 2010. $17.99, ISBN 9781423113386 / 1423113381.

Note: After their father's research experiment at the British Museum unleashes the Egyptian god Set, Carter and Sadie Kane embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest which brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

When Carter Kane arrives in England with his father and picks up his sister Sadie from their grandmother's house for a special evening visit to the British Museum, one would not normally expect anything strange. However, Carter and Sadie soon discover that they are the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptian kings and then witness the destruction of the famous Rosetta Stone, severe damage to the Egyptian galleries and the apparent death of their father by ancient Egyptian gods come back to life. Carter and Sadie then begin a journey through the mysteries of ancient Egypt meeting a series of priests, demons, goddesses and gods (some friendly and some not so friendly). Traveling through the Egyptian Duat (or Netherworld), they are transported to the secret scribal school in Egypt, to a mysterious mansion in Brooklyn (protected by mystical spells and a baboon named Thoth), to Paris, Washington, Memphis and elsewhere on an around the world and cross country journey eventually ending up in Phoenix, AZ. There they battle the god Seth and the forces of chaos and try to bring back order to the world and prevent the destruction of the universe.

As a scholar who has done much research on the ancient Egyptian god Seth and his role in Egyptian religion, I began the book (which is the first in a new series known as the Kane Chronicles) thinking that the old and often standard treatment of Seth as the god of evil would be once again given to the readers. That seemed initially to be the case as I went through the British Museum sequence, but then I discovered that I had read 150 pages and could not put the book down. The author, Rick Riordan (author of the well known Percy Jackson and the Olympian series), had developed a rich story line with characters that you wanted to see make it through the next adventure. There is plenty of action, and one sees some rather amusing characters with whom Carter and Sadie interact. The author does very nice job of presenting the complexities of the god Seth in an understandable and accurate fashion.

The book is by no means perfect, especially as the author sometimes treats Carter and Sadie as kids rather than young adults who can handle difficult situations. In the end, you will definitely root for Carter and Sadie.

I would recommend this book to all and foresee this as a promising new series for young adults.

Published on Africa Access Review (March 28, 2011)

Copyright 2011 Africa Access

Rating: R Grade: E / M Type: Book

Reviewed by: Eugene Cruz-Uribe, Northern Arizona University

Subject: North Africa / Egypt / Fiction