When 18-year-old Memphis Engle finds out her archaeologist father is in danger, she’ll do anything to save him.
When Memphis learns that her father died in a plane crash, she copes with her grief by attempting to finish his life’s work: translating an ancient map written in a secret language. That is until Ashwin “Ash” Sood, a South Asian Brit and a member of the cult of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, tells her that her father is actually alive and that the map describes the locations of five different pieces of a statue. Dr. Engle, Ash says, is being held captive by a cult whose members want to regain the statue and summon the apocalypse. Although Ash insists that the only way to save her father is to hand over the original map, Memphis instead convinces Ash to join her on a whirlwind journey around the globe, deciphering the hieroglyphics and recovering the missing pieces of the statue. Together, the two unlikely friends work to save Memphis’ father—and the world. Biracial (white/Chinese Malaysian) Memphis is a searingly intelligent and endearingly gutsy female protagonist, and the evolution of her relationship with Ash unravels both artfully and believably. Unfortunately, the book contains numerous factual errors about India that break readers’ suspension of disbelief. Furthermore, despite its fascinating premise, the abrupt ending ultimately leaves readers unsatisfied.
A flawed but entertaining novel. (Speculative fiction. 13-18)