Off on another expedition with her archaeologist Uncle Jay, 12-year-old Samantha Sutton is caught up in a plot to ruin his career.
Unless her uncle’s excavations turn up valuable historic relics under Wardy Hill, its owner, Sir Cairn Catesby, plans to build a Roman-style theme park there, where locals believe legendary warrior-queen Boudicca lived and died, outside present-day Cambridge, England. As in series opener Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies (2012), the archaeologist-author describes field research in loving detail, contrasting the careful work of scientists with the depredations of treasure hunters with metal detectors. But his depictions of the archaeological community, including Sir Cairn (a professor of archaeology at Cambridge) and Samantha’s own family, are far less positive. Her unreliable uncle makes enemies everywhere. They’re willing to sabotage his work and even threaten his niece and nephew. The suspense begins with an opening prologue: Samantha’s last desperate escape through a snowy night. As the events of the story unfold, there are peaceful moments—evensong at Kings College Chapel, rowing on the Cam in the early mornings, sharing the view from the chapel tower with new friend Graham Aubrey—as well as an increasing sense of danger. An enemy made in a previous story turns up again, and Samantha begins, not unreasonably, to fear for her life.
An archaeological adventure with almost too much suspense. (Adventure. 10-14)